WASHINGTON, DC – Several local airports will receive funding for improvements. U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-OH, recently announced that nearly 100 airports across the state of Ohio will receive nearly $254 million in federal funding over the next five thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act he spearheaded.
The Sidney Airport, Neil Armstrong Airport in Wapakoneta and the Darke County Airport in Versailles are among the list of Ohio airports to receive grant funds for improvements from the bill.
“This airport funding is a big win for Ohio across our state, for urban and rural areas alike. Upgrading and modernizing our airports will create tens of thousands of jobs and play a key role in attracting business and growing Ohio’s economy, both in the near term and for many years to come,” said Portman in a press release. “Now that air travel is beginning to ramp up as we work to get through this pandemic, it is the right time to make significant investments in our airports to ensure they will be able to meet the increasing demands of services.”
Ohio stands to receive almost $254 million in Airport Infrastructure Grant (AIG) program formula dollars, the release said. In addition, Ohio’s airports will have the ability to apply for the $5 billion in airport terminal improvement funding as well as the opportunity for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facility upgrades across the state through the $5 billion toward FAA facilities and equipment.
City of Sidney Public Works Director Jon Crusey said, “We greatly appreciate Congress’s action with the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and its contribution toward meeting the infrastructure development needs at airports across the country and particularly here in Sidney. We have seen our airport traffic grow during the last 18 months with corporate users conducting business in Sidney and across Shelby county and the region as well as a demand for flight instruction.
“The FAA has not provided guidance on how the funds will be distributed or what the funds can be used for, however, we anticipate receiving an additional $159,000 each year for five years due to the Infrastructure bill,” Crusey continued. “These dollars will go a long way to helping chip away at the airport’s capital development needs, both to maintain this important community infrastructure as well as some development growth needs to meet the increased users demands. The airport has been pursuing development of a parallel taxiway to the primary runway which will enhance safety for our users and expansion to some of our aircraft parking areas for new corporate users at the airport.”
Auglaize County Administrator Erica Preston said they are very excited about the incoming fund for the Neil Armstrong Airport.
“We are excited about it because it will continue to allow us some additional opportunities for growth at the airport. As you are probably aware we recently completed a new terminal building there,” Preston told the Sidney Daily News, “because our airport is an economic development hub and kind of a gateway into our community for certain businesses. So, it’s something we are proud of; it’s something we have invested in the past, and this grant it going to allow up to continue making the upgrades we need to, so that it continues to be a resource rather than kind of a draining asset we do have. So we are very excited that it’s going to an opportunity because we value the airport and we want to continue growing it.”
Matt Aultman, Darke County Commission chair, said of the Darke County Airport will benefit from the grant as, “The money allocated within the Infrastructure Bill for Darke County, which is about $159,00, will supplement our ten-year AIP plans. As we upgrade our facility, our next plan is to install a fuel farm, a new terminal, and a beacon, that will highlight or enhance our taxiway project that we recently completed.”
Portman’s release said airport infrastructure grant funds can be used toward projects to improve and replace runways, taxiways, and airport-owned towers. The bill also expands this program to include terminal improvement and multimodal connections to the airport. For large and medium primary hub airports, the grant covers 75% of eligible costs. For small primary, reliever, and general aviation airports, the grant covers 90-95% of the costs.
These dedicated funds, on top of the new competitive Airport Terminal Improvement program and the FAA NextGen program funding, the release said, will allow Ohio’s airports to complete overdue upgrades. This brand new funding will allow Ohio’s airports to continue recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19 and continue their position as catalysts for economic growth.