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

A barista pours steamed milk into a red paper cup while making an espresso drink at a Starbucks coffee shop in the Pike Place Market, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Seattle. It's as red as Santa's suit, a poinsettia blossom or a loud Christmas sweater. Yet Starbucks' minimalist new holiday coffee cup has set off complaints that the chain is making war on Christmas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Interfaith group asks Starbucks to drop vegan milk surcharge

They say the practice amounts to a tax on people who have embraced plant-based lifestyles.

FILE - An airplane flies past the Boeing logo on the company's headquarters in Chicago, on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2001. Boeing Co., a leading defense contractor and one of the world's two dominant manufacturers of airline planes, is expected to move its headquarters from Chicago to the Washington, D.C., area, according to two people familiar with the matter. The decision could be announced as soon as later Thursday, May 5, 2022, according to one of the people. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing expected to move headquarters from Chicago to DC area

The move would put Boeing executives close to their key customer, the Pentagon, and the FAA.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jon Nehring: Longtime Marysville mayor who’s nurtured growth

He’s helped steer the city’s transformation and is winner of the Jackson Award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Monti Ackerman, recipient of the John Fluke Award, is pictured Thursday, April 28, 2022, outside his office in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Monti Ackerman: A passionate volunteer and calculator whiz

The Fortive executive is the winner of this year’s Fluke Award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Rep. Mike Sells, D-38, is the recipient of this year's Henry M. Jackson award. The award recognizes a visionary leader who through partnership, tenacity and a strong commitment to community has created lasting opportunities to improve quality of life and positively impact the regional economy. Photographed in Everett, Washington on April 29, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Rep. Mike Sells: He fought for WSU Everett and worker rights

The retiring legislator is the recipient of the Floyd Award from Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Dr. David Kirtley at the new Helion headquarters, Antares, in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022  (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Helion Energy: New Everett company has the sun in its eyes

The firm is the winner of a new award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County, called Opportunity Lives Here.

FILE - In this Monday, March 1, 2021 file photo, The first Alaska Airlines passenger flight on a Boeing 737-9 Max airplane takes off on a flight to San Diego from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A Boeing pilot involved in testing the 737 Max jetliner was indicted Thursday, Oct. 14,2021 by a federal grand jury on charges of deceiving safety regulators who were evaluating the plane, which was later involved in two deadly crashes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines to keep canceling flights at high level for weeks

Flight cancellations since April will continue. The chaos has been damaging for Seattle’s hometown airline.

This 3D rendering shows Sila's 6000-foot facility in Moses Lake, to be used to manufacture lithium-ion anode battery materials. (Business Wire)
New factory in Moses Lake will bring hundreds of new jobs

The plant will manufacture lithium-ion anode battery materials for cars and cellphones.

People sit outside the recently opened Amazon Go facility Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Mill Creek, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Cashier-less Amazon Go buzzing in Mill Creek grand opening

Locals came to check out the high-tech store, with $3 avocado toast and cameras watching customers’ every move.

Joel Bervell (Courtesy photo)
TikTok med student @joelbervell named top Emerging Leader

Joel Bervell, who highlights disparities in medicine, took top honors at an event for 12 rising stars in Snohomish County.

The Everett City Council approved a contract for Bird electric scooters to be set up throughout the city as soon as May. (Bird) 20220428
Electric scooters set to return to Everett as soon as May

The Everett City Council approved a 12-month contract with Bird, a California company, to deploy 75 to 300 e-scooters.

A line of Boeing 777X jets, with their unique folding wingtips pulled up, are parked nose to tail on an unused runway at Paine Field, near Boeing's massive production facility, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing delays Everett 777X production after ‘dreadful’ quarter

Meanwhile, the plane maker said massive financial losses are related to defense projects and the war in Ukraine.