Metro-East News

The County plans to spend $6,000 a month to chase grant money for MidAmerica Airport

MidAmerica Airport by the numbers

Running an airport takes a lot of money. Here are some of the costs and stats associated with MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
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Running an airport takes a lot of money. Here are some of the costs and stats associated with MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

MidAmerica Airport will pay $6,000 a month to a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist group that will try to secure money from a federal grant program for airport improvements.

Daley Policy Group, founded in 2001, lobbies on behalf of both public and private groups and entities on Capitol Hill and in statehouses. Members of the county’s Public Building Commission approved the retainer fee at their meeting Thursday morning.

Commissioner James Nations said the cost is essential to making sure the right people keep MidAmerica’s interests in mind when it comes to deciding who will get a chunk of $1 billion made available from a federal grant program.

“Our goal here is to keep MidAmerica’s strengths and opportunities in front of all the decision-makers in Illinois and Washington,” Nations said. “To maximize the amount of funds we can receive out of this billion-dollar potential grant.”

The Federal Aviation Administration set the money aside specifically for smaller airports such as MidAmerica, said airport Director Tim Cantwell. Money from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program requires no match, meaning projects will be fully funded.

The goal of the federal program is to help airports update their facilities with projects including construction, land acquisition and safety area improvements, among other eligible projects.

To secure money from the program, Cantwell said, “you have to constantly make those decision-makers aware.”

The contract with Daley Policy Group lasts through Jan. 1, 2019, according to Cantwell.

In the Airport Improvement Program for all airports, not just smaller ones, there is $3.4 billion available, Cantwell said.

The airport also pays retainer fees to other consultants who work to attract cargo service to MidAmerica.

Patricia Daley, president of the Daley Policy Group, has in the past worked with the FAA, according to the company’s website.

MidAmerica offers passenger flights to several vacation destinations in the United States, including Florida and Las Vegas.

In other business

  • Members of the Public Building Commission approved $45,597 to purchase furniture for the County Annex.
  • Commissioners approved $29,288 to paint the exterior of the airport.