Tourism is a major pillar of the Southwest Florida economy and Lee County is looking to federal relief to make sure the airport is ready to receive visitors when they return to spend here.
$36 million is what the airport could be getting. That may seem like a lot of money, but RSW says flights are down 80% while passenger traffic is down 90%.
Commissioner Brian Hamman says this will help pay the bills at the airport and, essentially, keep it up and running.
An important requirement of the grant is to also keep their staff employed. It states they must keep 90% of their workforce working.
During this unprecedented crisis, Hamman says any funding is helpful.
“Well, the airport has seen such a drastic reduction in passengers and flights have been canceled every day that it’s going to, at some point, be hard to pay the bills. So that’s also what this money is going to be used for. It’s a stopgap to help us make the mortgage payment basically on the airport in this time of crisis,” said Hamman.
On top of this, Lee Tran is also slated to receive $19 million.
This will go toward employees and protective equipment on buses such as plexiglass and disinfectant.
Hamman also said whatever money is not needed will be given back to the federal government.