Airport receives $3.9 million federal grant

“Today is yet another opportunity for celebration,” said Bob O’Brien, executive director of the Northwest Chicagoland International Airport at Rockford (RFD). He had just received word from Mayor Doug Scott, who, in turn, heard from Sen. Durbin’s office that the Airport would be receiving a $3.9 million federal grant.

“The grant is a combination of funds, most notably more than $1 million in discretionary funds that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was able to elevate to the attention of the FAA Administrator,” O’Brien said.

“Until the actual grant is in hand, we won’t know the specifics, but we understand that it includes funds for an additional jet-bridge and other terminal improvements intended to keep pace with the rapidly expanding air service at RFD,” he continued.

The grant is also anticipated to fund an addition to the airport-based fire department that is staffed by the City of Rockford through an intergovernmental agreement between the agencies, as well as the purchase of a very highly specialized aircraft firefighting and rescue vehicle. Subject to the exact wording of the grant, the Airport is hopeful of reimbursing itself for the $1 million investment recently made to construct the International Arrival Gate, which will officially open Feb. 20.

Chairman of the Board Mike Dunn expressed his sincerest appreciation to Durbin and Scott for their behind-the-scenes efforts that secured this grant. “We have a wonderful international grade airport, which has been functioning as the 26th largest air cargo airport in the United States. Eighteen months ago, the Board of Commissioners and staff decided to invite airlines to give RFD a try with the hopes of creating jobs and quality of life enhancements for the region. This grant today, once again affirms that people at the grass-roots efforts can make wonderful things happen for the betterment of all,” said Dunn.

“This money helps the Airport meet some of the costs associated with the tremendous growth we have seen in the last few months. I especially want to thank Sen. Durbin for his continued support of Rockford and the Greater Rockford Airport,” said Mayor Scott.

For more information, contact Bob O’Brien at (815) 969-4444.

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