On the ramp at the passenger terminal at Paine Field on Aug. 1, from left: Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers; U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett; Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin; and Brett Smith, Propeller Airports CEO. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

On the ramp at the passenger terminal at Paine Field on Aug. 1, from left: Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers; U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett; Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin; and Brett Smith, Propeller Airports CEO. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Paine Field gets $5M grant to remedy a CARES Act oversight

Shortchanged earlier, the Snohomish County airport is the recipient of a new federal grant.

EVERETT —Paine Field airport will receive a $5 million federal improvement grant this fall. It’s part of a limited distribution that corrects an oversight that shortchanged the Snohomish County-owned airport out of millions of dollars of pandemic relief last spring.

The grant will be used to replace a worn taxiway that connects the airport’s main runway to the general aviation runway, airport officials said Monday.

In April, Paine Field received $157,000 in government aid from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a stimulus program that included $10 billion for airports.

The funding formula was based, in part, on how many passengers an airport served in 2018. Because airline service didn’t begin at Paine Field until March 2019, the airport received far less than similar-sized airports across the state. Bellingham International Airport, for example, received $5 million.

In the aftermath, Washington Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and U.S. Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene were among those that lobbied the Federal Aviation Administration for additional airport funding.

In a statement Monday, Cantwell said the new grant would help keep the airport “financially sound.”

“When the formula in the last COVID relief bill left out assistance to Paine Field and put the airport in a significant cash crunch, we worked with the Federal Aviation Administration on a solution,” Cantwell said. “Paine Field is too important to the region, to the state, and to our aviation workforce to not keep it fully operational. As Congress considers another COVID relief bill and additional support for aviation and airports, this funding will help the airport stay on a strong footing.”

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers was also among those who lobbied for a remedy. Paine Field accounts for $60 billion in economic impact and supports 159,000 jobs, noted Somers.

“Our congressional delegation worked with the FAA to find some dollars that were available and unused,” Somers said. “What we didn’t get through the CARES Act, we get through this direct grant.”

“Paine Field is suffering like other airports, ” Somers said. The funds, he said, “will help us recover more quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic and save jobs.”

Rep. Larsen said that the airport and the commercial air service it provides are a “vital part of the regional economy” that supports jobs throughout northwest Washington.

The supplemental grant helps ensure that airport operations will continue, said Larsen, Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee.

The grant comes from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, which funds safety and security projects, including improvements to runways, taxiways and lighting.

The funds can only be used for airport infrastructure. They cannot be used to provide support to airport tenants, including the privately owned passenger terminal, Somers said.

In an interview Monday, Paine Field Airport Director Arif Ghouse said the entire amount is earmarked for a project to replace a 20-year-old taxiway that connects the main runway to the smaller, parallel general aviation runway.

Details and a timeline for the project are still being worked out, he said.

“We’re very grateful to the two senators and Rick Larsen for this. We wouldn’t have gotten this without them,” Ghouse said.

Paine Field expected to receive about $3 or $4 per passenger in emergency aid last spring, or $3 million to $4 million dollars in CARES Act funds — based on the more than 1 million passengers that passed through the two-gate terminal during its first 12 months.

However, the airport was registered as a general aviation airport — one without scheduled passenger service — when federal regulators devised an emergency funding formula.

Paine Field was among a handful of airports that were shortchanged by the original federal stimulus program, Somers said.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
Former Boeing test pilot pleads not guilty in 737 Max case

He’s the first person to be charged with a crime in connection with the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes.

Top (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Steve Ewing. Bottom (L-R): Gary Petershagen, Marcus Tageant.
Developers court Lake Stevens council incumbents with over $20K

Over half of the campaign dollars for four candidates came from people tied to real estate or property development.

People hold signs in protest of the vaccine mandate after Boeing announced it would terminate workers who do not comply on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Some Boeing workers protest in Everett over vaccine mandate

The Boeing Company announced earlier this week that its workers must be vaccinated by Dec. 8.

FILE - In this March 14, 2019 file photo, Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. Relatives of some of the passengers who died in the crash will mark the two-year anniversary of the disaster on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, by seeking a reversal of government orders that let Boeing 737 Max jets fly again.  (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)
Boeing pilot involved in Max testing is indicted in Texas

He’s accused of giving the FAA false information about systems that played a role in two deadly crashes.

Traffic drives in view of a massive Boeing Co. production plant, where images of jets decorate the hangar doors, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing says workers must get the COVID vaccine by Dec. 8

“Compliance with these requirements is a condition of employment,” says an internal company presentation.

The Boeing 737 Max 10 airplane landing at Boeing Field in Seattle on June 18. (Chona Kasinger / Bloomberg)
Boeing ramps up 737 Max but 787 deliveries are still blocked

Boeing last month maintained its steady trickle of sales as it navigates the aviation downturn.

A handful of Northwest Union Carpenter members picket in front of the new Marysville civic center construction site on the sixth day of a region wide union carpenter strike on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Carpenters strike ends with new contract and a $10 raise

Roughly 500 union members were working on projects in Snohomish County. It was among the largest strikes in 18 years.

FILE - In this March 20, 2020, file photo, the Amazon campus outside the company headquarters in Seattle sits nearly deserted on an otherwise sunny and warm afternoon. Amazon said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Amazon to allow employees to work remotely indefinitely

Although most cannot work remotely because their duties include grabbing orders and delivering them.

With new owners demanding the Grand Apartments' longtime residents leave, Stephen Teixeira, 52, documents issues at the Rockefeller Avenue building, on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Life at the Grand Apartments in Everett is now a ‘nightmare’

Longtime residents say the new owner, an investment company, is trying to bully them out of the building.

Bob Martin, 80, owner of the The Stag Barber and Styling in Snohomish. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
$90,000 fine doesn’t stop defiant Snohomish barber

Bob Martin appealed a state penalty for ignoring coronavirus rules and lost. It has not cut into his business.

A handful of Northwest Union Carpenter members picket in front of the new Marysville civic center construction site on the sixth day of a region wide union carpenter strike on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Carpenters union strikes a deal, and members are set to vote

Workers are back on the job with a tentative agreement that includes a 15.43% raise over three years.

Ryan Welch, a produce clerk, restocks grapes at the Sno-Isle Food Co-op on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s Sno-Isle Food Co-op approaches its 25th anniversary

The enterprise hopes to add more square footage and more classroom space to the store on Grand Avenue.