The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the Druid City with a $750,000 grant to help develop the Tuscaloosa National Airport, city officials announced Thursday.

City spokesman Richard Rush said in a press release that the funds are tied to USDOT's Small Community Air Service Development Program, which distributed $12.2 million in grants to 18 communities in 18 states this year.

Rush said these grants allow communities to assess and develop solutions for their air service needs and can be used to provide financial risk mitigation and fee waivers to air carriers, conduct studies to potentially expand service, and promote new or existing local services. This will allow the city to guarantee a potential commercial flight carrier a minimum revenue in exchange for offering flights out of Tuscaloosa's airport.

Tuscaloosa was among 57 applicants from 30 states vying to receive the funds.

Jeff Powell, the manager of Tuscaloosa National Airport, thanks everyone in the community who played a role in applying for the grant.

“This is a great opportunity for our community and I want to thank all those that provided support for our application and the Department of Transportation for selecting Tuscaloosa,” Powell said. “We will use this grant as another step to further our efforts with network carriers in providing scheduled air service to Tuscaloosa.”

Rush said the city of Tuscaloosa will provide $150,000 in supplementary matching funds to the grant and community partners will provide the same, giving officials more than $1 million to use towards bringing commercial flights to the area.

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