How could area airports be impacted by potential infrastructure bill?

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill looked like a done deal for both Democrats and Republicans, but now frustrations are mounting.

This comes as President Biden says he won’t sign the bill unless a separate deal is passed – that includes up to a $6 trillion package with other Democrat programs, including child care and climate change. That measure has no Republican support. Lawmakers say President Biden and his negotiators will need to finalize the agreement.

“It’s very disappointing to me that the president said what he said,” explained U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran during a visit to Wichita on Friday. “There’s some indication he is walking back his statement, but I would say that this is important for this bill to stand on its own.”

$25 billion from the infrastructure deal was intended for airports.

“We really need that money,” explained Valerie Wise, ICT’s air service and marketing manager. “We’ve had to cut spending quite a bit in the past year because of the pandemic so this money is very much needed.”

Wise says they hope to start several projects next year, including repaving some of the airport’s tarmac.

“That General Aviation project is thought going to be a $50 million project, and the taxiway probably another $10 million, so we really need that money.”

it’s not only large airports that could feel the impact from this $25 billion.

“It will help local small airports, not so much in passenger service, but in maintaining the infrastructure of the runway, the glideslope technology and all of that kind of stuff,” said Harvey County Commissioner Chip Westfall.

But for now, it’s all depends on this bill remaining a bipartisan agreement.

“What happened yesterday was a real setback toward trying to find something that would be broadly supported past congress and be signed by the President,” said Sen. Moran.

Senator Moran says he is still willing to work to see if there’s something to be done, but we’re now a ways from having the announcement that he thought occurred yesterday with President Biden.

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