Feds sending more than $108 million to airports in Ohio

Columbus, Ohio
A flight flies over Columbus, Ohio, in September 2019. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(The Center Square) – The federal government is sending more than $108.8 million to 97 airports in Ohio as part of a program to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money is part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Airport Grant Program. In total, the feds are doling out $10 billion to airports nationwide.

“This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a news release.

Ohio’s cut of the federal dollars includes more than $46.3 million for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, nearly $31.5 million for the John Glenn Columbus International Airport and more than $14.5 million for the James M. Cox Dayton International Airport.

“We need to be sure that our airports continue to be able to provide a safe environment for their employees and passengers,” U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said in a news release. “This funding will ensure that our airports have the resources they need to continue serving our community after we get through this crisis.”

The money supports ongoing operations at commercial and general aviation airports and offsets lost revenue stemming from a decline in passenger traffic, according to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) news release. Airports may use the funds for capital expenditures, operating expenses, payroll, utilities and debt payments.

“Ensuring these airports remain fully operational during and after the Coronavirus Pandemic is vitally important,” U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, said in a news release.

The Buckeye State received less than Michigan, where 94 airports received a total of nearly $257 million, and Pennsylvania, where 63 airports received more than $239.2 million. However, Ohio received more than Indiana, where 65 airports received more than $96.5 million; Kentucky, where 55 airports received more than $77.2 million; and West Virginia, where 23 airports received nearly $9.4 million.

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine said he plans to allow businesses in the Buckeye State to reopen starting May 1. As of Friday, Ohio had more than 9,100 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 418 confirmed deaths.

“We must continue to assume that everyone has this disease because it is not going away until we have a vaccine,” DeWine said in a news release. “As we gradually, carefully, and responsibly start to reopen Ohio, it will be important that we all continue to work together to protect each other.”