Legislative Alert: Senate Republicans propose $10 Billion in Aid to Airports
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Posted by: NASAO
Yesterday Senate Republicans released a $1 trillion coronavirus economic relief package that includes $10 billion in aid to the nation’s airports as the aviation industry continues to deal with the challenges from COVID-19. While short of the $13 billion many aviation organizations had hoped for, airports will be appreciative of the additional funding. This new grant would double the $10 billion more than 3,000 airports have already received from the previous grants in the CARES Act adopted in March.
Details are still emerging, but so far, we know that under the Senate Republicans’ plan, airports that receive aid would have to keep at least 90% of their workers employed through March 2021. The plan also seeks to address concerns raised in the previous aid package that disparities were created between different airports. Under the legislation proposed Monday, airports that received more than four years of operating expenses under the March coronavirus relief package will not be eligible for another emergency grant. The plan also provides $75 million for Essential Air Service.
This legislation serves as Senate Republicans’ opening offer in negotiations with Democrats on the next coronavirus relief package. A $3 trillion measure from House Democrats, which the House passed in May, didn’t include funding for airports, although their “Moving Forward” Infrastructure bill contained significant increases in AIP funding. Negotiations are expected to begin in earnest amongst Senate Republicans, House Democrats, and the White House over a final package.
On behalf of NASAO, I would say that we are pleased to see that policymakers on both sides of the aisle agree that additional aid to airports is vital as the nation protects aviation – a critical part of our transportation system. We hope that the discussions to resolve the differing aid bills will extend to providing federal support for states as requested by the nation’s governors, including state aviation programs, which have also been hard hit by the decline in aviation tax revenue. State aviation agencies make it possible for airports to operate safely and meet the needs of the traveling public and businesses that depend on air cargo.
I encourage all of you to contact your state’s Congressional delegations or your Governor’s DC legislative representative and let them know that support for airports and state aviation agencies is critical if we are to maintain the world’s safest and most efficient aviation system.
NASAO President & CEO