WASHINGTON D.C. (NEXSTAR) — With air travel still way below normal, airports across the country are struggling to keep operations going.
To keep critical projects going, the U.S. Department of Transportation plans to pump almost $800 million worth of grant money into the nation’s airports.
“These grants are so important in terms of maintaining the infrastructure of airports,” said Elaine Chao, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Chao says even though passengers are starting to trickle back, the numbers are well below what many airports need to operate.
“What are the things that are under great strain when revenue drops occur? And that is ordinary maintenance, and so this is where the federal government steps in,” she said.
Airports in 46 states will get the grants and they can be used on anything from building projects to security upgrades.
“We want these airports to continue maintenance and investment in their infrastructure,” Chao said.
Some highlights include about $7 million each for Raleigh, North Carolina and San Francisco, $4 million for Denver and just over $5 million for Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Meanwhile, Columbus’ John Glenn International Airport will receive more than $2.1 million. Click here for a full list of which airports are receiving money and how that money will be spent.
“We understand at the federal level the tremendous revenue constraints that local communities and airports are under,” Chao said.
Because of that, the DOT waived a requirement that airports get local funding to help offset project costs. Money from the CARES Act covers the difference.
“We are helping them out by providing the local share as well, so basically its free money,” Chao said.
The 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 by September.