By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao announced $10 billion in economic relief to airports in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The grants provided to airports will be used to replace lost revenue and maintain operations. Construction is an eligible activity, but requires airports to work through their district or regional office to apply the funds for new capital projects.

Funds are distributed through a new program within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)—they do not draw from existing Airport Improvement Program funds or other previously appropriated monies. Funds are broken down into four categories and are available until expended:

  • $500 million to support the local match for existing Airport Improvement Program and Fiscal Year 2020 Supplemental Appropriations Discretionary grants already announced;
  • At least $7.4 billion in grants to commercial service airports;
  • Up to $2 billion for grants to primary service airports; and
  • At least $100 million for general aviation airports.

FAA April 14 released a list of grantees, and funds will be available upon execution of a grant agreement.