City-owned Clark Regional Airport in Stephenville will be awarded $30,000 in funding through a federal grant for economic relief as a result of "economic distress caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus," U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced Friday.
"The funding, which was appropriated by Congress last month as part of the CARES Act, comes through the U.S. Department of Transportation," the email from Sen. Cornyn’s office states.
Cornyn stated, "As Texas reels from the economic destruction caused by the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important our airports have the resources they need to weather the storm. I commend both the Trump Administration and leaders in Stephenville who worked to secure those funds during this trying time."
Stephenville City Manager Allen Barnes said, "We knew something was coming, but we didn’t know when. It’s certainly terrible circumstances of why we are getting the money. Our country is facing probably the biggest challenge since World War II."
Barnes noted that the funds will help bolster the airport’s economic viability in the wake of the economic downturn.
"We are seeing fewer flights coming in. It’s (normally) a busy airport," Barnes said, "which means less fuel being sold. There’s a trickle-down (effect) from not having more flights."
Mayor Doug Svien said, "We appreciate Sen. Cornyn and his help to direct money to the city of Stephenville. It will help with additional costs and needs at the airport."
CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748, Public Law 116-136) was signed into law by President Trump on March 27. It includes funds totaling $10 billion, to be awarded as economic relief to eligible U.S. airports affected by "the prevention of, preparation for, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic," according to an online post (faa.gov/airports/cares_act/).
"The CARES ACT provides funds to increase the federal share to 100 percent for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and supplemental discretionary grants already planned for fiscal year 2020. Under normal circumstances, AIP grant recipients contribute a matching percentage of the project costs.
"Providing this additional funding and eliminating the local share will allow critical safety and capacity projects to continue as planned regardless of airport sponsors’ current financial circumstances."
That website post also states, "The FAA plans to make these funds available in April."
Barnes noted that previously announced expansion plans for Clark Regional Airport have been on hold for some time, and are still in the property acquisition stage.