JH Airport receives $16.5M in grant money from federal CARES Act

JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson Hole Airport received $16.5M in federal aid, outpacing all Wyoming airports but one.

Under the federal government’s new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by the President on March 27, nearly $10 billion in funds is being awarded as economic relief to eligible U.S. airports affected by the prevention of, preparation for, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There really wasn’t really a good way to project what the numbers were going to be in advance,” said airport director Jim Elwood, explaining what he knew of the formula used to determine amounts allocated to U.S. airports. “But we would like to thank our Congressional leaders from Wyoming for helping push this through.”

Jackson Hole Airport received $16,494,770 in grant money. Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody scored a whopping $18,017,498—a sum that surprised its officials, according to a story today in the Cody Enterprise.

Additionally, the CARES Act provides new funds distributed by various formulas for all airports that are part of the national airport system. This includes all commercial service airports, all reliever airports and some public-owned general aviation airports.

As far as where the money will be spent, Elwood said staff will recommend to the board (which meets today) that the stimulus money be used for a combination of services.

“Some of it may be earmarked for operations to protect staff and keep professional development on track, some to deferred maintenance items, and to pay for the additional cleaning and sanitization measures needed due to COVID-19,” Elwood said. “There is also some dedicated money toward what we have identified to keep on course certain capital projects 3-5 years out.”

Under the CARES Airport Program:

  • Commercial Service Airports. At least $7.4 billion is available to Commercial Service Airports for any purpose for which airport revenues may lawfully be used. The total allocation to an airport is determined by the following formula:
    • 50% of the total allocation is based on the number of enplanements the airport had during calendar year 2018 as a percentage of total 2018 enplanements for all commercial service airports.
    • 25% of the total allocation is based on the sponsor’s fiscal year 2018 debt service as a percentage of the combined debt service for all commercial service airports; and
    • 25% of the total allocation is based on the sponsor’s fiscal year 2018 ratio of unrestricted reserves to its respective debt service.

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