Today has been a very good day, no a great day, for the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.

Earlier today, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announed $100 million in funds from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act would be distributed across the state of Iowa for infrastructure at the state's commercial aiports. The monies are called the Iowa Commercial Aviation Infrastructure Fund.

In 2019, the year before the pandemic began, a media release from the Governor's Office states that 2.2 million passengers and 142 million pounds of cargo passed through Iowa's airport system. The release describes Iowa's airports as "essential for our state's tourism, business growth and development, and economic prosperity." No doubt about it.

Eight different Iowa airports are eligible for the $100 million announced today. According to a separate release from the Eastern Iowa Airport, the distribution formula for the funding should give the airport $28.35 million. Obviously, that's huge news.

According to a study five years ago, the Eastern Iowa Airport has an economic impact of over $451 million each year to the city of Cedar Rapids and the region. The airport says it supports 5,000 jobs and total estimated payroll of just over $171 million.

The Eastern Iowa Airport has already spent almost $55 million on what's called the Terminal Modernization Project. The new dollars will allow the fourth and fifth phases of terminal improvements and modernization to continue at the Eastern Iowa Airport, with work to start in the spring of 2023. The airport says it expects the ongoing modernization to cost approximately $50 million to complete. The $28.35 million would represent 56 percent of that total. Yes, it was a great day indeed.

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