P.M. BRIEFING : Funds OKd for Major Denver Airport

From Times wire services

Approval of a $60-million federal grant today paved the way for construction of the nation’s first major new airport since 1974, to be built on a 53-square-mile tract in Denver.

Transportation Secretary Samuel K. Skinner and Federal Aviation Administration chief James Busey announced the grant after a signing ceremony attended by Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, Denver Mayor Federico Pena and members of Colorado’s congressional delegation.

Busey said the new international airport, estimated to cost as much as $2.5 billion, will have “enormous implications for aviation nationally” and should reduce air travel delays nationwide by 4%, saving $500 million by 1997.

“This is a significant event in view of the fact that no new major airport has been built in the United States since the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport opened in 1974,” Skinner said. “This clearly is a breakthrough in one of the cities where we most need a new airport.”