PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A nearly $15 million federal grant for Rhode Island’s main airport will help sustain it financially and keep the traveling public safe, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said.

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation announced the $14.8 million grant for Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport last week. The Federal Aviation Administration funding can be used for operations, personnel, sanitization, janitorial services and debt service payments, as well as combatting the spread of pathogens at the airport.

Reed, a Democrat, said airports were hit hard by the pandemic and the grant can be used broadly to help them return to pre-pandemic levels of service.

“The pandemic presented a whole new set of challenges for keeping air travelers safe,” added Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “This federal support will cover the costs of additional safety measures that have been put in place at T.F. Green, and help get our flagship airport and tourism industry back up to pre-pandemic levels.”

The American Rescue Plan Act provided $8 billion in federal aid nationally to keep airports running and airport workers on the job as the aviation industry recovers.

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation is expecting another $45 million in additional federal funding over the next five years from the $1 trillion infrastructure deal signed by President Joe Biden.

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