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ARPA will provide $100M for 8 Iowa airports

American Rescue Plan Act funds will provide $100 million for modernizing Iowa’s air transportation program through the Iowa Commercial Aviation Infrastructure Fund, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday.

Ninety percent of the funding will be granted based on passenger numbers from 2019 and the remainder will be split equally among the eight airports eligible for funding, the news release said. The airports were identified in the 2020 Iowa Aviation System Plan. Local matching of funding is encouraged but not required, the Iowa Department of Transportation said in a document.

In 2019, before the pandemic, a record 2.2 million people boarded airplanes at Iowa airports, the document said. In 2020, enplanements dropped below 1 million. Last year that number grew to 1.7 million passengers.

“Passenger travel is slowly recovering but is still not at pre-pandemic levels,” the department said. “Iowa’s commercial service airports are vital to supporting and growing the state’s economy because they provide connections for Iowans and our businesses/corporations to the rest of the country and world. Focused investments on commercial service airports will accelerate recovery, reduce a significant backlog in aviation system needs (as defined in the Iowa Aviation System Plan), and help airports meet future needs for serving the travel demands of Iowans and visitors to the state.”

The Iowa Department of Transportation will administer the funding, which can support terminal construction and renovations, parking structure constructions and hanger construction projects.

The Des Moines International Airport will receive the most funding ($58.8 million) which will support a “transformational” new airport terminal, and Iowa’s other airports need support for their terminals and hangar capacity, the department said.

Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, which will receive $28.4 million, will be able to complete its fourth, final phase of its terminal upgrade project, an airport official said, The Gazette reported.

“While touting these programs and awards, [Reynolds is] burying the lead about where they are from,” Sen. Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, said in a statement. “This effort to will help address the Reynolds Workforce Crisis and it is the direct result of federal funds approved by Rep. Cindy Axne and signed into law by President Biden. And don’t forget: These are federal funds the Governor previously opposed.”

The funds will be awarded June 1 and must be obligated by Dec. 15, 2023. Reimbursement claims must be submitted by June 2026.

This article was originally posted on ARPA will provide $100M for 8 Iowa airports

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