The multi-million dollar grant comes at a time when President Trump’s budget calls for the elimination of the Essential Air Service (EAS), which funds airports such as Devils Lake Regional Airport.

Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D) and John Hoeven (R) announced Thursday that Devils Lake Regional Airport has been approved for a $2.4 million grant.

Airport manager John Nord confirmed the announcement, saying that the funds will be used to do significant upgrades on runways that are long overdue.

The main project will be a complete resurfacing of the crosswind runway at the airport, which has been in need of serious maintenance for 25-30 years in Nord’s estimation.

“We should be able to knock this project out this year,” Nord said. “I was surprised to get the news so early (in the year).”

The multi-million dollar grant comes at a time when President Trump’s budget calls for the elimination of the Essential Air Service (EAS), which funds airports such as the one in Devils Lake, allowing smaller rural communities to stay connected to the larger transportation grid.

Nord said in an interview last month that the continuation of the EAS program is essential to the survival of Devils Lake Regional Airport.

“We worry about it every time it comes up, and it comes up quite a lot,” Nord said. “I don’t know what would happen to the airport.”

In addition to both North Dakota senators, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) has also voiced his support for the EAS program.

Cramer also pointed out when the budget was announced that it would likely go through several changes as it moves through Congress, giving hope that at least some of the program’s funding could survive.

In addition to the runway work, the grant will cover an upgrade to the airport’s taxi area and firefighting equipment. Unused grant money will return to the FAA.