At the end of last week, three Democrats representing parts of Central Florida in Congress–U.S. Reps. Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto–announced that two airports in the area will receive more than $47 million from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The three members of Congress announced that Orlando International Airport (MCO) is getting more than $41.5 million and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) will get more than $5.5 million from the FAA.
These parts are part of more than $200 million the FAA is sending to airports across the Sunshine State to help them deal with the economic slowdown connected to the current pandemic. The funds were approved in the coronavirus stimulus package approved by Congress back in December.
“This new federal relief is a vital part of our work to restore Central Florida’s economy and save jobs during the pandemic,” said Demings. “I am glad to see this funding allocated and am working to pass the next package of emergency COVID relief, including financial support for individuals and small businesses. There is hope on the horizon as the President’s expanded vaccine rollout continues, but we still have a long way to go and we cannot leave anyone behind.”
“As a result of COVID-19, air travel has been substantially reduced nationwide, and this has severely impacted our local economy and hurt our local airports and the small businesses that operate within them,” said Murphy. “Last year, I helped push for bipartisan legislation that was enacted into law to support Florida airports, airport workers, and airport-related businesses so they can weather this health and economic storm, and be ready to serve Central Florida travelers and tourists once the pandemic ends.”
“As we continue to combat this pandemic, our local airports continue to be hit tremendously hard as a result of reduced air travel throughout the past last year,” said Soto. “I am proud to announce with my colleagues these funds that will ensure that essential services and small businesses within the airport are protected during this devastating time along with workers and travelers.”
The three representatives noted that airports in the Orlando area have seen drastic decreases in passengers due to the pandemic.
“In 2020, passenger traffic at MCO declined more than 57 percent to 21.6 million passengers, down from a record high of 50.6 million in 2019. In 2020, passenger traffic at SFB declined 53 percent to 1.5 million passengers, from a record high of 3.2 million in 2019,” their offices noted.
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