CIRA to receive $3.3 million to rehab airport entrance, road system

Nearly 100 Illinois airports, including the Central Illinois Regional Airport (Bloomington), will receive state funding for projects that range from new runways and road relocations to purchasing mowers and snow removal equipment.

The $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor in 2019, provides the money. Local sources will also contribute $11.5 million.

Gov. JB Pritzker visited Moline Wednesday to announce the funding for 96 state airports and $5.6 million for the Quad City Airport.

“Crucially, these dollars are going first and foremost to projects that might not otherwise be eligible for the full federal funding that they need to finish,” Pritzker said.

CIRA will receive $3,342,600 in funding, providing 90% of the money necessary for an estimated $3,714,000 project to rehabilitate the airport’s main entrance and circular road system. The Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority funds the remaining 10%.

Alan Sender, the chairman of the authority, thanked Pritzker as well as the Illinois Department of Transportation. “Our roads are the welcome mat to our facility for the tens of thousands of passengers and guests we host each month at Central Illinois Regional Airport,” he said. “This funding will allow the airport authority to complete the rehabilitation and repair of these roads expeditiously and cost effectively.”

The state grants are available from $36,000 to the Illinois Valley Regional Airport, LaSalle County, to purchase a tractor with an flex wing mower, to $11.8 million to the Morris Municipal Airport, Grundy County to build a crosswinds runway.

Stan Knudson is a public information officer for Morris. He said that the funding will allow the airport expand its operations. It currently has a single north-south runway, meaning certain aircraft can’t land there if the wind is blowing unfavorably. He said that an east-west runway would allow for more aircraft.

Knudson said that funding would go toward the entire process — from engineering to construction — but he was unsure on a timeline for construction. The project also is slated to receive just under $3 million in local funding, according to the governor’s office.

Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) was a supporter of the capital plan when it passed 2019 and called the airport an “airport anonymous”. “economic driver within our region.”The 2019 capital bill funding made it possible to complete the project, which had been in development since 2003.

“Projects like this are critical for the betterment of our state,”Rezin said. “I would like to thank former Morris Mayor Dick Koczick and Morris Municipal Airport Manager Jeff Bogen for years of hard work and planning they put in to make this new crossroad runway a reality.”

Rezin also acknowledged the governor and IDOT as having approved the plan. He also thanked the area Rep. David Welter, R. Morris, and the current Morris Mayor Chris Brown who advocated for the region.

St. Clair County’s Downtown Airport will receive $5 million to improve ramp and taxiway access, as well as a noise mitigation barrier for jet blast.

Four aircraft maintenance providers will be able to benefit from the funding, which will improve their operations at St. Louis Downtown Airport near Cahokia. According to Senator Christopher Belt, D. East St. Louis, the project will support more that 450 aerospace manufacturing jobs, increasing production safety, reliability, and efficiency, improving airport business, and increasing global competitiveness for southwestern Illinois as well as Illinois.

“St. Louis Downtown Airport is a vital economic engine in the Metro East,”Belt said this in a press release. “I will continue working with Rep. Latoya Greenwood to bring our tax money home from Springfield in order to maintain and create jobs in our area.”

St. Louis Downtown Airport, which is third busiest in Illinois, was designated the 2021 Reliever Airport of The Year by the IDOT Division of Aeronautics.

Belt stated that the project is in the planning stages since several years. Construction is expected to start in 2022.

Other airport projects funded are:

— Cairo Regional Airport near the state’s southern tip will receive $309,000 from the state, including $72,000 to acquire snow removal equipment and $237,033 to replace airport lighting.

— Tri-Township Airport in Carroll County will receive $171,000 to install new electric airfield security gates.

— Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield will see more than $3 million to rehabilitate its north airport’s public parking lot and roadways.

— Bolingbrook’s Clow International Airport will receive $2.8 million, $67,500 of which will help replace its rotating beacon, while more than $2.1 million will go toward the construction of a replacement parallel taxiway.

— Southern Illinois Airport in Jackson County will see over $1 million, with $252,000 going toward the relocation of Fox Farm Road and $751,000 going to expand the southeast aircraft parking apron.

Rebuild Illinois is a multimodal infrastructure package that covers roads, bridges waterways, air travel, rail and bike paths. Of the funding for the Rebuild Illinois plan, $33.2 billion is slated to go directly toward transportation in accordance with the state’s 2016 “lock box”Amendment that requires the state use transportation-related funds for their stated purposes.

The 2019 plan was funded largely by a doubling the state’s motor-fuel tax to 38cs. This rate is now increasing annually at the rate inflation. The measure also raised several fees motorists pay to secretary of state, including registration.

The vertical infrastructure portion of the bill, which allows for infrastructure improvements on state buildings is funded through revenues from a massive 2019 expansion in gambling and an increase in taxes on cigarettes.

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