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Missouri receives grants for rural transit, airports during COVID-19 pandemic


Missouri is set to receive emergency grant money for both rural transit and airports in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. 

The funds come through the federal CARES Act, which provides emergency funds for individuals, families, and businesses economically impacted by coronavirus. 

Missouri will receive $152.4 million in funding, awarded by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), for 75 airports. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is set to receive $61.7 million for rural transit. 

“Air travel is down an estimated 96 percent, leaving Missouri airports with huge losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said in a statement. “This grant funding will provide immediate support to help sustain airports through this public health emergency. It’s important for these airports to be able to accommodate emergency travel now and be back at full capacity when regular travel resumes. Air travel is critical to our long-term economic strength and I will continue working to ensure our state’s airports have the resources they need to get through this crisis.”

The funding, announced by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, will support continued operations and cover lost revenue from the decline in passenger traffic. The CARES Act allocates $10 billion for airports all over the country. 

“This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” said Chao. 

Among the 75 Missouri airports receiving aid are:

  • Jefferson City Memorial – $69,000
  • Columbia Regional – $18,763,287
  • Spirit of St. Louis – $157,000
  • Poplar Bluff Municipal – $69,000
  • Springfield-Branson National – $9,259,052
  • Joplin Regional – $1,164,636
  • Kansas City International – $43,275,969

Missouri is the first state in the U.S. to receive the rural transit grant under the federal CARES Act, Gov. Mike Parson said Tuesday. 

“These funds will provide a needed boost to rural transit systems in Missouri, as many have reduced service due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Parson said. “I want to thank Secretary Chao and our Missouri congressional leaders, Representative Sam Graves and Senators Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt, for their role in obtaining these important funds for our state. This relief will help keep Missouri’s vital rural transit system operating for people who have limited transportation options and need it most.”

MoDOT will spread the $61.7 million across 30 Missouri agencies, including OATS Inc. — operational in 87 counties — as well as Cape Girardeau County, Excelsior Springs, and more. The CARES Act allows for $25 billion in assistance for rural transit across America. 

”MoDOT will work closely with rural public transit providers to implement this critical funding. I want to thank my staff for reacting so quickly when the grant availability was announced,” MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said in a statement. “The grant application clearly painted a picture of Missouri’s rural transit challenges as a result of the coronavirus, and we are grateful to receive this vital aid.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.