U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has announced that airports in Okaloosa and Escambia counties will receive federal grant money from the United States Department of Transportation totaling $2,618,796. The grant money will be used for airport improvements, including taxiway and apron improvements in Okaloosa County, and demolition work for a commerce park in Pensacola.

Destin–Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) will receive $2,107,000 to rehabilitate 2,000 feet of taxiway to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement.

Bob Sikes Airport (CEW) will receive $270,000 to fund the design for the rehabilitation of 38,000 square yards of existing apron.

Destin Executive Airport (DTS) will receive $198,000 to prepare for the rehabilitation of 65,000 square yards of existing apron.

Pensacola International Airport (PNS) will receive $43,796.00 to fund the removal of structures on land acquired for further airport development.

“It is critical to invest in our airports. Maintaining and upgrading airport infrastructure, while giving them room to grow and expand, will help our airports better meet the needs of travelers,” Gaetz said. “Northwest Florida has always been a popular destination for tourism, business and governmental travel. The $2.6 million in grants from the Department of Transportation will allow Northwest Florida’s popularity as a travel destination to continue to grow, now and in the years to come.”

Carolyn Ketchel, chairwoman of the Okaloosa County Commission and the commission’s airports liaison, said the money will be put to good use.

“This is exciting news, as we expect to serve over a million passengers this year,” Ketchel said. “We’ve seen unprecedented growth at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport. The work that the congressman has done will allow us to enhance amenities that are much-needed at each of the airports.”

The grant money is expected to be disbursed before September.