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Airport gets millions through virus relief act

The Boulder City Municipal Airport has been awarded nearly $2.7 million through a new federal grant program created because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, April 14, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would award more than $230 million to Nevada’s airports through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Airport Grant Program. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the program was created to provide “unprecedented and immediate relief” to American families, workers and businesses.

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

Willy Williamson, manager of Boulder City Municipal Airport, said the money will allow the facility to move forward with FAA-funded projects and help cover operational costs. Boulder City was awarded $2.695 million.

“Presently, the airport has $14.5 million of FAA-funded airport maintenance and improvement projects on our five-year capital improvement plan,” he said.

Williamson said there is approximately $2 million in unfunded projects that will also be considered. Additionally, he said the funds may be able to help with standard operational needs.

“The CARES Act provides a wide latitude of projects that typically are not funded through the FAA. … Any projects require approval by the FAA’s airports district office, but I am happy to see new opportunities to relieve cost burdens on the airport,” he said.

According to the FAA, this funding is available for airport capital expenditures, airport operating expenses, including payroll and utilities, and airport debt payments.

Williamson said in order for the airport to keep the grant money it must keep its staffing level at 90 percent of what it was on March 20. Additionally, he said the airport was eligible because it had previously received funding through the airport improvement program.

This funding was distributed based upon the number of “enplanements” at the airport. Enplanement is the act or process of boarding an aircraft.

The CARES Act provides funds for all airports that are part of the national airport system, including commercial service airports, reliever airports and some public-owned general aviation airports.

“Time and time again, Nevada’s airports and aviation industry have played a role in powering our state’s economy,” said Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen in a joint statement. “During this time of economic uncertainty, it is critical that we support our airports and the countless workers who make airport operations run smoothly. We will continue fighting to bring resources to Nevada and working to ensure that our key industries and institutions across our state are better able to weather this storm.”

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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