belt 042921 2SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) that would allow most major Illinois airports to directly receive and spend federal funding passed the State Senate on Thursday.

The measure would allow Illinois airports that have 10,000 or more patrons per year to directly receive and spend federal funding. Under the current law, federal funding goes to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s aeronautics division to distribute to airports across the state, with the exception of O’Hare and Midway International Airports in Chicago.

“This measure will give most major airports in Illinois the authority to make their own financial decisions,” Belt said. “It will reduce unnecessary work at IDOT and help reduce the backlog on airport improvement projects.”

Currently, IDOT must approve all planning, construction, development and improvements to hangars. The approval process for these contracts is backlogged, and this measure would take the pressure off of IDOT and allow individual airports to move forward with projects on their own timelines.

“Larger airports in this state have the staff and resources necessary to manage their own funding,” Belt said. “Allowing larger airports to make their own decisions will speed up the approval process for our smaller airports as well, benefitting airports of all sizes.”

Senate Bill 1232 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 52-1 and now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.