Federal government likely will pay the full bill for South Dakota’s airport projects in 2021

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A long list of improvements proposed at South Dakota’s public airports might be fully funded by the federal government this year and save state and local sources more than $4.7 million.

The state Aeronautics Commission received the news Thursday from South Dakota Department of Transportation officials, who said all indications point to 100% federal funding. Many projects at South Dakota public airports in the recent past have received a blend of 90% from the Federal Aviation Administration and a combination of state and local funding for the rest.

South Dakota’s 2021 list includes 33 proposed projects in 32 communities plus two statewide that total roughly $53.2 million. Based on not having to get 3.5% from the state commission and 6.5% from local contributions, 100% federal funding would save more than $1.5 million for the state and more than $3.1 million locally.

“So what are we going to do this year?” chairman Eric Odenbach of Eureka wondered.

Jack Dokken manages state government’s aeronautics office. He said the federal aid could be 90% FAA and 10% ARP. That’s short for American Rescue Plan, the giant funding package that Democrats in Congress passed at the request of President Joe Biden.

“There’s no guarantees yet. We reached out to the FAA last week and they still don’t know,” Dokken said.

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