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Mobile Airport Authority praises funding package, COVID aid bill

The bill sets aside about $45 billion in transportation aid, including $16 billion for airlines and $2 billion for airports.

A view out the window of a terminal in Mobile Downtown Airport. (VIA MOBILE AIRPORT AUTHORITY)

The Mobile Airport Authority on Tuesday said it was pleased to see Congress approve a sweeping coronavirus relief and government funding package late Monday night.

The bill sets aside about $45 billion in transportation aid, including $16 billion for airlines, $14 billion for transit systems, $10 billion for state highways, $2 billion each for airports and intercity buses, and $1 billion for Amtrak.

The package also allocated $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, a federal grant program that provides funds to public-use airports to fund projects that enhance safety and efficiency.

“This would not have been possible without Senator Shelby. For that, we are forever grateful for his hard work to support the Mobile Airports and the citizens of our region,” said Chris Curry, the president of the Mobile Airport Authority.

“Investment in our transportation system significantly improves our nation’s infrastructure and the quality of life for residents of our community,” Curry said. “The combination of relocating commercial air services from our Regional Airport to the Downtown Airport and connectivity to the Port of Mobile further advances the goal of the Mobile Airport Authority. Continuous funding will enhance multi-modal connectivity between Aviation and Maritime by connecting people and goods to the global network.”

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provides more than $900 billion to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, extend unemployment benefits and distribute stimulus checks for Americans, among other priorities.

The Mobile Airport Authority owns and operates Mobile Regional Airport, Mobile Downtown Airport and the Brookley Aeroplex, generating $1.8 billion in economic value for the state of Alabama. Mobile Regional Airport is served by Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines, providing service to four major hubs: Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte and Houston.

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The regional airport is also home to Airbus Space and Defense, and the downtown airport is located next to the Port of Mobile. The unparalleled geographical location supports the authority’s multi-modal ability to bring maritime, rail, trucking and aviation together in one location.

The downtown airport also serves as home to Airbus Final Assembly Line, Airbus Engineering, ST Aerospace and Continental Motors. The Brookley Aeroplex is an industrial complex that supports the operation of the downtown airport, and it is home to more than 90 businesses that include supply chain providers and others that support the transportation industry.

The coronavirus relief bill has been criticized by President Donald Trump over wasteful spending and because he thinks the individual direct payments should be $2,000 instead of $600. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, is the chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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