- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 3, 2001

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and businesses at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will receive $25 million to cover lost revenue stemming from the airport's federally imposed closure after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
President Bush is expected to sign an order Monday releasing the money, which comes from the $40 billion Congress approved days after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, administration officials said. Specifically, the money will come from one of two $10 billion funds Mr. Bush has discretion over, the officials said.
Sen. George F. Allen, Virginia Republican, said about $18 million will go directly to the airports authority as reimbursements for lost fees so that it can pay back bond holders and continue with its expansion plans. The rest of the money will go to reimburse businesses and concessionaires for revenue lost during the closure, but the airports authority still must decide how to disburse the funds.
The money covers the airport's closure from Sept. 14 to Oct. 3, Mr. Allen said. Reagan Airport reopened Oct. 4, the last airport in the country to do so, and even now flies only 52 percent of its normal schedule.
Rep. James P. Moran, a Virginia Democrat whose district includes Reagan Airport, said the money would be spent by the airports authority to cover the businesses' cost of leasing space.
"We want the businesses to stay there, but they are not making enough money to pay the rent," Mr. Moran said.
Congressional sources said there will be money left over after the rents are paid.
There are roughly 75 restaurants, shops and coffee stands at the airport and typically they brought in about $5 million daily before being shut.
Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican, said he and other members of the region's congressional delegation met with Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. to secure the deal, and that the $25 million is just a part of money Virginia officials will seek for Reagan Airport.
"This is a struggle," Mr. Warner said of the efforts to make sure Reagan Airport is "fairly, duly compensated."
Omitted from the package is money for some of the 10,000 workers at Reagan Airport who were either furloughed or had their hours cut back because of the government-forced shutdown.
Allen spokesman Matt Raymond said the senator and others are working on a $3 billion funding package that would assist those across the country who lost their jobs.
Mr. Moran said the original request was for $50 million, and Mr. Allen said the OMB originally offered about $12.5 million.
Mr. Allen stressed the need for more federal relief for the airport, saying, "The patient is still in the hospital."
Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, said the money "will go a long way toward providing financial stability to the airport, the businesses and employees inside the airport, and, indeed, the entire region."

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide