allen west_web.jpgWASHINGTON — Congressman Allen West, R-Fla.,  announced the award of a $21 million federal grant to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to be used towards the construction of a much needed second commercial runway.

The runway project will generate at least 11,000 jobs and be completed in the fall of 2014 with an estimated budget of $791 million, a statement from West’s office said.

The additional runway will ease air traffic delays, which, in turn, will encourage more visitors to the community and bring an influx of business to the hotel, restaurant and growing cruise industry, the statement said.

“We’re very glad that Congressman West was able to help us make this happen,” said Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Director Kent George. “We are one of the most delay-prone airports in the country and this funding is critical to our ability to serve the millions of passengers that come through our doors every year.”

West’s statement said he worked with officials of the airport through the grant process to ensure the funds would be allocated to the runway project.

“This runway is long awaited and much anticipated,” West said. “At this crucial time for our economy, it is imperative that we encourage this kind of development, which will bring thousands of jobs with it and boost tourism, South Florida’s number one economic engine.”

The airport is ranked among the top 25 in the nation, serving more than 21 million passengers.

Counter to the national trend, the airport has experienced 18 consecutive months of passenger growth since September 2009 and is ranked among the fastest-growing major airport hubs in the U.S.