By RANDY PIERCE
Two important tenant businesses at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport that have suffered financially as result of the coronavirus pandemic are receiving funding to help them alleviate the shortfalls they experienced the last couple of years.
At its most recent meeting, the St. Clair County Public Building Commission, following a recommendation from MAA Director Bryan Johnson, approved the usage of federal American Rescue Plan Act grant funds to provide rental relief costs in the months ahead for Enterprise Car Rental and Roy-El, the business which operates the on-site concession service.
The ARPA, which was signed into law by United States President Joe Biden a little over a year ago, includes $8 billion to be awarded as economic assistance to eligible airports in the nation as a means of overcoming the effects of the pandemic.
The Federal Aviation Administration in turn established an airport rescue grant program which was the direct source of $131,720 for MAA. The airport itself will not be fiscally impacted by this action and instead is simply acting in an administrative capacity concerning the funding.
Both the rental car agency and concessionaire pay the airport for their respective uses on its property but both also suffered measurable losses in income because of the pandemic.
Documentation, subject to review by the FAA, in the form of reports concerning these losses, is required as part of the grant relief process, according to Johnson who explained that this is a new program for the airport industry that had never been implemented prior to the pandemic.
Airports throughout the United States that received similar support included, he said, Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, which was awarded $900 million. Members of the workforce connected with these services were laid off during the pandemic, Johnson went on, and many concessionaires had to close as it raged on while receiving no other form of support.
This process is structured in a way that will allow the two MAA tenants to be relieved of paying their rent beginning this month until the grant funds are used up.