U.S. Senator Steve Daines is set to introduce legislation to support Yellowstone Airport and Sidney-Richland Airport to benefit Montana jobs, tourism sector and the economy.
“Airports across the country experienced reduced flights and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local airports should not be penalized for this,” Daines said. “As Montana tourism continues to recover from the pandemic, we must support local jobs and protect funding for Montana airports.”
Department of Transportation funding for Sidney-Richland Airport and Yellowstone Airport, which are currently planning or undertaking numerous expansion projects, are being threatened due to the reduction in flights caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reduced number of flights in 2020 could trigger a change in airport status and could reduce the availability of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding.
Daines’ bill would ensure the current status and funding mechanisms for both airports are maintained. His bill would preserve the primary status of airports who are at risk of being relegated to non-primary status due to COVID-19 related flight reductions by requiring status to be determined by flights in 2018, 2019 or most recent prior year.