Finally: $14.7 million dollars from the state provides long-awaited financial support to Rockford’s airport

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) – Thursday, Illinois’ comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the Chicago Rockford International Airport would receive $14.7 million dollars.

The money was initially promised more than five years ago, to help build the AAR maintenance facility. The hope was that the facility would attract more cargo companies to the airport, but there was a problem. Illinois’ budget battle held up the funding. This forced RFD to take out a line of credit with local banks to cover the costs.

Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board Chairman Paul R. Cicero says the money will help relieve some of the financial burden the airport has been dealing with.

“Of course for the airport, it’s a tremendous benefit because our interest was running $60,000 to $90,000 a month on the loan,” he said.

Cicero says the decision to move forward on construction of the maintenance facility was a risky one that ultimately paid off.

“It’s worked out phenomenally well, with UPS expanding, Amazon coming here and expanding, and it’s obvious from our cargo numbers and our tremendous increase in cargo that this has been a successful strategy,” he said.

Cicero says while they’re not there yet, the ultimate goal is for the airport to be self-sufficient and not need to rely on any taxpayer money.

Representatives from RFD are expected to be among the attendees at a news conference with Mayor Tom McNamara on Friday, August 23, at 11 a.m. in the Guilford High School Field House. The group, which also includes other local taxing bodies, will talk about current and future efforts to lower property tax levies in the City of Rockford and the impact on residents and businesses.

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