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Metro Creative Connection

$22 million-plus in American Rescue Plan funding landing at Buffalo & Niagara Falls airports

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Wed, Jun 23rd 2021 08:55 am

Over $20.1 million for Buffalo & $2.1 for Niagara Falls

Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Buffalo Niagara Falls International Airport in Cheektowaga and the Niagara Falls International Airport will receive a combined total of $22,264,763 through the American Rescue Plan.

Higgins said, “Transportation, travel and tourism saw a steep decline as people stayed close to home during the pandemic. As a return to normalcy begins, we know these industries will play a major role in economic recovery. This investment in Western New York airports will protect local jobs and strengthen our region’s ability to grow economically.”

The American Rescue Plan, supported by Higgins and signed into law in March, included $8 billion to help airports recover from the pandemic. The funding is intended to provide relief to keep airports open and operating, including the maintenance of airport-related employment.

The Buffalo Airport will receive $20,143,834 in federal funding, which includes over $2.1 million in relief for the small businesses that operate concessions. An additional $2,120,929 in funding will go to the Niagara Falls Airport, including $104,573 toward concession businesses.

“We are truly grateful to Congressman Higgins who has once again secured badly needed local funding for our airports. This support will be a lifeline for our aviation operations,” NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkel said. “With our passenger traffic down due to COVID, coupled by the U.S. and Canadian border closure, this money will ensure we can continue to provide aviation services to those traveling to and from Western New York and that our airports will be well positioned to play a critical role in the communities post-pandemic economic recovery.”

A press release stated, “The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) saw an 85% decrease in passenger traffic during the height of the pandemic. A portion of that was attributed to COVID-19 travel restrictions, including the continued closure of the U.S.-Canada border. Approximately 30% of Buffalo Airport customers and 80% of Niagara Falls airport travelers are Canadian. 

Western New York airports in Dunkirk and Jamestown will also receive $32,000 each.

The American Rescue Plan funding brings the total pandemic-related investment in U.S. airports by Congress to $20 billion, including $10 billion previously included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and $2 billion in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

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