BLOOMINGTON — Central Illinois Regional Airport will be able to clear snow more quickly and efficiently thanks to a federal award.
The Bloomington-Normal airport will buy two high-speed runway brooms to be delivered next summer after receiving $991,773 in U.S. Department of Transportation funding.
"We have been planning for this equipment purchase, and the grant comes to us through the Airport Improvement Program with the support of Congressman (Darin) LaHood," said Fran Strebing, deputy director of marketing for CIRA.
LaHood, a Dunlap Republican, and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican, hailed the funding in matching news releases.
Airports in Decatur, Lincoln and Springfield also received funding. Logan County Airport will use $1,153,190 to rehabilitate two runways.
“Air travel is a key economic driver for our local communities and I applaud the USDOT for their continued commitment to investing in our local transportation projects to help make travel safer, as well as more effective and efficient,” said LaHood.
“Investing in our infrastructure is a critical part of growing our economy, and that’s exactly what these grants will accomplish,” said Davis. "As someone who frequently flies in and out of Central Illinois airports, I understand how important these continued investments are, and I know my constituents will benefit greatly from these improvements.”
CIRA is nearing the end of a multi-year pavement rehab project that includes two runways, taxiways and the air carrier apron. The $4.96 million project is 90 percent federally-funded, drawing from grants supported by sales tax on airline tickets.
CIRA, overseen by the Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority, uses property tax revenue for much of its local spending. Olson said the authority still hopes to expand its tax base to all of McLean County.