S.D. airports will get millions of extra federal aid

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Money

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — More than 50 South Dakota public airports will share in the billions of dollars the Federal Aviation Administration received from Congress to help cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry.

The funding list includes more than $22 million for Sioux Falls Regional, more than $9 million for Rapid City Regional, and more than $1 million apiece for Aberdeen, Watertown and Pierre.

The state Aeronautics Commission received a briefing Tuesday from South Dakota Department of Transportation officials.

DOT’s Jack Dokken said South Dakota airports plan to use the money for expenses.

The new aid won’t require state or local contributions and the FAA is in charge of distribution, according to Dokken.

He said the state commission won’t be involved. A memo that his office sent earlier had indicated the commission would need to approve the usage.

“Then we really don’t have much to do with it, to be honest,” commission chairman Eric Odenbach of Eureka said.

Dan Letellier, executive director for the Sioux Falls airport, told commissioners April parking revenue was 5% of normal and that overall revenue could be 60 percent of a normal year.

Commercial airlines using the Sioux Falls airport haven’t paid fees for several months, according to Letellier.

His hope is that some of the CARES Act funding could be modified for construction projects that already were planned.

Joel Jundt, the state department’s deputy secretary, said the money would benefit all of South Dakota by helping airports stay open.

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