Bay Area/ Oakland/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on February 22, 2024
Oakland International Airport to Receive $10 Million for Inclusive Restroom Revamp Under Bipartisan Infrastructure LawSource: Vmzp85, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Oakland International Airport is about to get a serious bathroom blitz, with the Federal Aviation Administration chipping in a hefty $10 million for the job. This cash infusion, sourced from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's 2024 Airport Terminal Program, is earmarked for a major facelift of the airport's restrooms, set to feature modern amenities and a more inclusive design. The Port of Oakland, which oversees the airport operations, signaled that construction will commence later this year and aims to spruce up lavatories with gender-neutral facilities and even a lactation suite for nursing moms.

Interim Director of Aviation at the Port of Oakland, Craig Simon, didn't hesitate to express gratitude towards the political bigwigs for landing this deal. "We are grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler, and Congressmembers Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Mark DeSaulnier, John Garamendi, Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman. They advocated to definitively increase our airport's allure for the traveling public through this FAA funding," Simon stated in a release featured on the Port of Oakland's website. Phase 1 of this overhaul promises to modernize the experience for flyers, ditching the outdated for the cutting-edge and swapping old fixtures for high-efficiency, low-water-use alternatives.

A firm completion date for Phase 1 is pegged for mid-2025, with the initial stage to tackle the refurbishment of a currently shuttered women's restroom at Gate 4 and a revamp of the men's restroom at Gate 3. To foster inclusivity, a men's restroom at Gate 7 is set to be transformed into a gender-neutral/family restroom, together with the build-out of a lactation suite, ensuring traveling families, especially nursing mothers, have a tad more ease during their journeys.

Wielding pride in their strides toward a family-friendly airport vibe, OAK's heads are eager to continue collaborating with state and federal partners to ensure future travelers get top-drawer facilities. Congressmembers Lee and DeSaulnier championed the project in a letter to the Transportation Department, proclaiming, "These improvements have the potential to support increased passenger demand, provide access for individuals with disabilities, and help OAK to seamlessly achieve sustainability goals."