Senate Defense Bill Has $8.7M to Widen YARS Runway

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Youngstown Air Reserve Station is slated to receive $8.7 million to widen its assault runway.

The funding is included in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday. 

The expansion will allow C-17 and C-130 pilots to perform required training landings in the Mahoning Valley, improving U.S. military readiness as well as strengthening the strategic viability of the base. 

Portman discussed the need for a runway expansion with base leaders during a visit in June and advocated for this project as part of the Senate’s NDAA process. 

“Currently, due to scheduling delays, clogged runways, and increased costs due to the required additional fuel consumption YARS aircraft and crews must travel to Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina to perform required training landings,” Portman said in a statement announcing the funding. “This funding will widen the assault runway located at YARS and allow our YARS servicemen and women to conduct this vital training in the Mahoning Valley.”

Vito Abruzzino, executive director of the Eastern Oho Military Affairs Commission, applauded the funding Friday. EOMAC advocates on behalf of regional military assets, including Youngstown Air Reserve Station and Camp James A. Garfield in Ravenna.  

“This is wonderful news and why it’s so important we as a community continue to back our local installations for expansion and retention of facilities,” he said. “With the project finding a home in both the House and Senate draft, we are in a prime position to finish the job in conference.” 

Guy Coviello, Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber president and CEO, praised the efforts of Abruzzino and the commission, “who has been the strongest advocate in the community for YARS,” he said.

“The Ohio legislature and [Gov. Mike] DeWine administration were wise to keep investing in EOMAC,” Coviello said in a release. “Senator Portman and the rest of the Valley’s Congressional delegation have been outstanding in helping to increase the economic output at YARS by more than 50% in a short amount of time. This will help the installation’s impact grow beyond its current $137 million annually.”

YARS employs more than 2,000 people, making it one of Trumbull County’s largest employers.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.