Airports around the country are now in line for funding to pay for a variety of construction, rehabilitation, lighting and signage projects as a result of the big COVID-19 relief legislation approved by Congress.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, otherwise known as the CARES Act, brings with it a price tag of $2 trillion, $10 billion of which is specifically designated for publicly-owned commercial airports.
The funding is going directly to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program, which is designed to help airports with facility and safety upgrades on their property.
Impetus behind the legislation is an effort to make up for a significant loss of revenue currently experienced by airports due not only to a decline in passenger travel because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but also the income that comes from airport tenants, concessions, and parking.
In a statement, Todd Hauptli, chief executive officer of the American Association of Airport Executives, said the $10 billion will “help key people at work, avoid defaults, on bonds, allow critical projects to continue, and assist with recovery efforts that will be massive over time.”
The CARES Act additionally provides $29 billion in grants to airlines for payroll costs, along with another $29 billion for loans.
The significantly increased funding for the Airport Improvement Program is designed to not only support future construction projects, but projects that are already underway.
By Garry Boulard
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