MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) commended his colleagues in the Alabama Senate for passing Senate Bill 83, which would create the Alabama Airport Economic and Infrastructure Program.

Co-sponsored by Reed, SB 83 passed the upper chamber on Tuesday in a resounding, bipartisan vote. The bill previously was unanimously approved by the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee. SB 83 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Alabama Airport Economic and Infrastructure Program would function as a grant program under the Alabama Department of Transportation to help fund and pay debt service for improvements to general aviation and commercial service airports and help fund efforts to grow and expand commercial air service across Alabama.

SB 83 outlines that Alabama is currently home to six commercial airports and 72 general aviation airports, including Senate District 5’s Bevill Field at Walker County Airport and Richard Arthur Field in Fayette. Under the Alabama Airport Economic and Infrastructure Program, 40% of the amount appropriated in grants would go to general aviation airports, while 60% would go to commercial airports.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this important legislation that will help ensure Alabama’s airports receive the funding and support they need to serve local communities across our state, including our Senate District 5,” said Reed. “The Alabama Airport Economic and Infrastructure Program will strengthen rural airports such as Walker County Airport’s Bevill Field and Fayette’s Richard Arthur Field. I will continue to fight for this legislation to become law, so that this 21st century infrastructure can help our district grow and thrive.”

“I am thankful that the Senate saw fit to overwhelmingly pass this legislation and look forward to watching it progress through the House of Representatives for final passage,” said Tim Melson who sponsored this legislation in the Senate.  “For the past several years we have been extremely blessed with funding secured from U.S. Senator Richard Shelby who continues to be an advocate for our general and commercial airports.”

Alabama Senate District 5 covers all or parts of Walker, Winston, Fayette, Tuscaloosa, and Jefferson counties.