Over the next five years, Ohio airports are to receive $254 million in federal funding by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) helped spearhead earlier this year.
Grimes Field in Urbana is one of many Ohio airports to benefit from these funds and is set to receive $159,000 annually over the five years.
The airport infrastructure grant funds can be used toward projects to improve and replace runways, taxiways and airport-owned towers.
The legislation also expands this program to include terminal improvement and multimodal connections to the airport.
For small primary, reliever and general aviation airports, the grant covers 90-95 percent of the costs.
“This is fantastic,” said Grimes Field Airport Manager Elton Cultice. “It is long overdue. Grimes is one of the very few airports in the country that are completely self-sustainable.”
Cultice said the airport completely relies on money raised from selling fuel and renting space along with roughly $150,000 in annual funding with spending restrictions from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.)
“We bring traffic to the area and economic benefit,” said Cultice. “But, it is very challenging to do any major projects. A lot of the smaller airports have pavement that needs replaced and buildings that need new roofs. We don’t know yet what we are going to do with (the funds).”
Among many other projects, Cultice said a runway extension is needed at the airport. This would allow larger aircraft and small jets to begin landing at the airport.