Local and regional airports throughout Greater Minnesota will be eligible to receive grants to boost economic development beginning as soon as this summer. The new program, authored by Senate Transportation Committee Vice Chair John Jasinski (R-Faribault), will be included in the final state budget agreement that will be approved in a forthcoming Special Legislative Session.
“Local and regional airports offer a ton of potential for economic activity, but too often that potential is not being realized,” said Sen. Jasinski. “That’s one of the things that became evident when I was mayor of Faribault. We have successfully implemented programs like this to spur infrastructure development at other greater Minnesota businesses; using the same model to stimulate growth at airports is the natural next step.”
The agreement establishes an Airport Infrastructure Renewal (AIR) Grant program and appropriates $700,000 for an initial round of grants. Cities and counties could apply for the grants to cover 50% of the costs of economic development projects related to manufacturing, technology, warehousing and distribution, or research and development. Local sources will be required to match the grant contribution, and cities and counties must be able to show that proposed projects will provide an economic benefit to the local community and create or retain full-time jobs.