EUGENE, Ore.-- The federal government is stepping in to help fund airports across the country with airfields in Oregon getting $140 million.
This chunk comes from a $10 billion pie that was funded through the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed by Congress last month. In Western Oregon, 15 airports will receive anywhere from $20,000 to nearly $23 million to help cover lost revenue.
Cathryn Stephens, the acting director of the Eugene Airport, said the $22.6 million boost from the federal government to fund her airport will help stimulate the local economy.
"It’s not so much aid to airports," Stephens said. "It’s an aid to our communities because without your airport as your key economic drivers in your communities, then you are really going to suffer. All the businesses will suffer, therefore the people who want to be employed will suffer."
According to the Oregon Department of Aviation, Eugene's airport creates over 1,600 jobs in the hospitality and service industry in the metro area from commercial air travelers. Their spending during their visits helps fund over $68 million in salaries. Stephens said the stimulus money helps safeguard a main pillar in the local economy.
"Airports are key economic drivers in every single community, especially commercial service airports. Putting that money here to really start that ball rolling will really go a long way toward helping our economy in the long run," Stephens said.
Other airports that will receive money in Western Oregon include those in Albany, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Roseburg, and Florence.