Durbin, Bustos Call on Governor to Release Committed State Funding for Rockford Airport

Today, $2.5 million federal EDA grant officially awarded bringing total federal investment in Rockford Airport to nearly $10 million in 2015

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following an announcement by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) that the agency has finalized the $2,581,900 funding conditionally awarded to the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) Midfield Aviation Industrial Park Project earlier this year, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) today again called on Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to release state funding that has already been committed for the project.


Today’s funding is in addition to the nearly $7.35 million in federal funding that has been awarded through the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration for improvements at Rockford Airport in 2015 alone. Earlier this year, nearly $6.7 million in federal funding was awarded for infrastructure improvements and upgrades including a terminal building expansion and nearly $650,000 in funding was awarded to construct a 30,000 square yard cargo apron.


“The Chicago Rockford International Airport is one of our state’s most important transportation assets, and has proven itself as an economic engine for the entire region,” Durbin said. “Although I am confident that investing in this project will pay dividends for decades to come, I remain concerned that the State of Illinois’ inaction may jeopardize the project’s success and the hundreds of jobs it could create. Today, the federal government has reaffirmed its commitment to creating economic opportunity in Northern in Illinois and moving the Rockford Airport’s midfield improvement project forward. It is time for the State of Illinois to do the same.”


“We need to work together to ensure the Rockford Airport receives all of the state and federal dollars previously agreed to because this investment translates into hundreds of good jobs, new economic development opportunities and a brighter future for families in our community,” said Bustos. “Today’s announcement represents a significant federal down payment on this job creating project and I hope that the Governor will honor the obligation of the State government to do its part.”


The Midfield Aviation Industrial Park Project is the further development on the RFD land that will house AAR, Rock Valley College and other future projects by public and private entities and the general public. In addition to expanding vocational education opportunities and providing new career options for students at the Rock Valley College Mechanic School, the project is also expected to create 500 jobs within two years and more in the long-term.


Earlier this month, Durbin and Bustos encouraged Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to follow through on the state of Illinois’ commitment to provide $16.3 million for the Chicago Rockford International Airport’s midfield improvement project. The members wrote, “In 2014, the state promised to contribute $16.3 million. This money should not be held hostage by the current budget debate—it is our understanding that the money had already been appropriated in the previous fiscal year and should have been released during fiscal year 2015. A reversal in funding could mean that the project—already underway—will be in jeopardy, along with the hundreds of jobs it is expected to provide.” The full text of the letter is available here.


RFD is served by three airlines: Allegiant, Apple Vacations and Elite. RFD serves ten non-stop destinations including Cancun, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas, New York/Newark, Denver/Ft. Collins, Orlando, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana and Tampa Bay. RFD was named the 2013 Primary Airport of the Year by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics. For more information on RFD and flight schedules, visit FlyRFD.com.