Federal grants headed to local airports

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FILE – In this April 1, 2020, file photo, several dozen mothballed Delta Air Lines jets are parked at Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo. The number of Americans getting on airplanes has sunk to a level not seen in more than 60 years as people shelter in their homes to avoid catching or spreading the new coronavirus. The Transportation Security Administration screened fewer than 100,000 people on Tuesday, April 7, a drop of 95% from a year ago. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NEXSTAR DC BUREAU) — With airline travel still below normal, airports across the country are struggling to keep operations going. The U.S. Department of Transportation is doing what it can to keep critical projects going and even though passengers are starting to slowly return, the numbers are still far below what is needed to operate.

The Department of Transportation’s plan is to pump almost 800-million dollars worth of grant money into the nation’s airports.

Airports in 46 states will be getting the grants, they can be used on anything from building projects to security upgrades. Some highlights include about 7-million each for Raleigh and San Francisco, 4-million for Denver, and just over 5-million for Grand Rapids.

Locally, Northwest Florida Beaches International will receive $800,000 to acquire an aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle. Pensacola International will get just over 6.3-million dollars for a host of construction, installation, and restoration projects.

Space Coast Regional in Titusville is getting more than 180-thousand dollars to construct a contract tower. Eglin Air Force Base/Destin-Ft. Walton Beach is getting over 6.5-million to expand their terminal building.

The Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao said, “We understand at the federal level the tremendous revenue constraints that local communities and airports are under.”

Because of that, the Department of Transportation has waived a requirement that airports get local funding to help offset project costs. Money from the CARES act will cover the difference.

DOT says there will be at least one more round of grant money sent out to airports. All the money set aside for these grants will be distributed in September.

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