Designating YNG/YARS as a Primary Airport Advances in House

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Legislation designating Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and Youngstown Air Reserve Station as a primary airport passed the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s reauthorization.

In April, U.S. Reps. Dave Joyce and Bill Johnson introduced stand-alone legislation to designate YNG/YARS as a primary airport.

YNG is the only commercial airport in the country with an Air Reserve station that does not have commercial air service. Upon the loss of commercial air service in 2018, the FAA significantly reduced the annual maintenance funding at the airfield.

“Restoring the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and the Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s primary airport status will help bolster economic growth, increase military readiness, and fulfill critical infrastructure needs on the airbase,” Joyce, of Bainbridge Township, R-14th, said in a news release.

“I am proud to see this legislation pass through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as part of the FAA reauthorization to ensure the men and women on our airbase have the resources they need to perform their duties efficiently and effectively, while supporting economic growth in the Mahoning Valley,” he added.

“Our region would greatly benefit from this designation, and I look forward to continuing the effort to get this legislation across the finish line – to promote economic growth and strengthen defense opportunities within the Mahoning Valley,” Johnson, of Marietta, R-6th, said in an emailed statement. “It’s important that YARS is designated a permanent, primary airport.”

The House and Senate are now developing their respective FAA reauthorization bills, a Joyce spokeswoman said Thursday. Although the floor process and timing for these bills is unknown, they likely will be conferenced or reconciled to address their differences before being sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, also introduced legislation to designate the Vienna Township facility as a primary airport.

Also Thursday, the Ohio Senate passed its version of its $85.8 billion operating budget. The legislation restores $3 million in grant funds for runway improvements and extensions at the regional airport.

State Sen. Sandra O’Brien of Lenox, R-32nd, worked with members of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate leadership to restore the funding. 

“This $3 million will allow the federal government match of $20 million to go through,” O’Brien said in a statement Thursday. “This money will be used for airport improvements guaranteeing YARS’ future.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.