House approves bill to assist Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport

US House approves bill to assist Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport

A bipartisan bill that includes a “primary airport” designation for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport — which comes with an additional $850,000 annually in federal funding — passed the U.S. House and will be signed by the president.

The House on Wednesday voted 387-26 in support of the five-year, $105 billion Federal Aviation Administration’s Reauthorization Act. The Senate approved it 88-5 on May 9.

President Joe Biden said he will sign the bill.

The bill includes language to make the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport a primary airport by adding a line to the United States Code about public airports with military use. It states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a public airport in use by an air reserve station shall be considered a primary airport for purpose of this chapter.”

Youngstown-Warren is the only commercial airport in the country with an attached air reserve station that doesn’t have commercial air service and isn’t considered a primary airport.

That means the FAA provides $150,000 annually to the airport for maintenance and improvements. That annual funding will increase to $1 million.

The airport lost its last commercial air service, Allegiant Air, in January 2018, causing the FAA to remove the primary airport designation.

U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge, whose district includes Trumbull County, said of the Youngstown-Warren designation: “This will bolster economic growth, increase military readiness and help fulfill critical infrastructure and resource needs that will allow the airport to continue the important missions of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.”

Joyce and Republican Bill Johnson, who resigned from the House in January to become Youngstown State University president, got the primary airport designation into the bill in the lower chamber.

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, and J.D. Vance, R-Cincinnati, did the same in the upper chamber.

It costs about $1.7 million to $1.8 million annually for the airport to maintain its runways and getting the primary airport designation restored will greatly help with that expense, said Anthony Trevena, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority, which operates the airport.

YARS, which is adjacent to the airport, uses the facility.

YARS is getting eight new C-130J Super Hercules planes at a total cost of $1 billion starting with one in July. The second plane will come a few months later and the other six will arrive in 2025.

The FAA reauthorization bill also increases the number of air traffic controllers, including those at Youngstown-Warren.

There are 16 air traffic controllers at Youngstown-Warren. The bill adds nine more including three who will do watch supervision.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today