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Culbertson, Wolf Point Airports Receive Funding

With Montana airports struggling to keep up with costs after the COVID-19 pandemic brought air travel to a standstill, U.S. Senator Jon Tester Tuesday, April 14, successfully secured nearly $74 million to help 71 airports across the state cover operational expenses, staffing and certain development projects during the crisis.

“Montanans rely on our small regional airports to connect our state to the rest of the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shut them down almost entirely,” Tester said. “I’m glad to have helped secure this funding at a critical time — it’ll help local airports across the Treasure State keep up with their day-to-day operations so that when this crisis is over, they can continue serving their communities and driving our economy.”

Montana airports have seen an 80 percent drop in passengers since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the vast majority of Americans to shelter- in-place. On top of this, airports are facing new demands on operations, uncertainties about their ability to pay down debt obligations or complete projects, doubt about their ability to retain staff and increased pressure to reduce costs.

Tester successfully got this funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act after he pressured the Trump Administration to ensure rural airports did not get left behind in any COVID-19 relief packages. Airports will be able to use this funding for any purpose that airport revenue may legally be used, including operational expenses and certain development projects. This funding will also require small hub airports receiving funding to retain 90 percent of employees through the end of the year.

Area airports receiving funding include Wolf Point, $30,000; Culbertson, $20,000; Circle, $20,000; Glasgow, $30,000; Malta, $20,000; Plentywood, $20,000; and Scobey, $30,000.

Nine Montana airports will receive more than $1 million in grant funding. These include Billings Logan International Airport, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Great Falls International Airport, Helena Regional Airport, Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, Missoula International Airport, Sidney-Richland Regional Airport and Yellowstone Airport in West Yellowstone.

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