U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, speaks in front of a new statue of President Harry S. Truman at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 29, 2022. (Photo provided by Sen. Roy Blunt's Office)

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, gave his farewell address on the Senate floor Dec. 6. Blunt’s parting remarks for his congressional colleagues came about a week after the city of Springfield got him a parting gift, an airport terminal named in his honor.

The Midfield Terminal at the Springfield-Branson National Airport opened in May 2009. It will be renamed the Roy Blunt Terminal thanks to a resolution the Springfield City Council adopted with an 8-0 vote.

The Midfield Terminal is the commercial flight terminal at Springfield, with 10 gates serving passenger airlines.

“It’s right and fitting that (Blunt) be honored by his hometown in this manner in an institution, the airport, that he has done so much to make it what it is today,” Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said.

The commercial terminal at Springfield-Branson National Airport has 10 gates for passengers to access commercial flights. (Photo by Rance Burger)

Blunt entered public service in 1973, when he was appointed Greene County clerk at the age of 23. He was elected to seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, starting in 1996. Blunt was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and reelected in 2016. McClure sponsored the resolution to rename the airport terminal.

“He has been a tireless advocate for badly needed transportation infrastructure on many fronts, including especially, our airport — the runways, the taxiways, the apron areas,” McClure said.

McClure told the Springfield City Council that the renaming would not cost Springfield taxpayers any money.

“There are no public funds involved in any of the signage changes for the exterior and the interior,” McClure said. “All of that funding has been raised privately.”

Springfield Airport Board Chairperson Catherine Moore was part a of unanimous vote for the renaming by the airport board the morning before the City Council vote on Nov. 28.

“We agree with the mayor, and find it a fitting recognition of Senator’s Blunt’s support of the region and of the airport and transportation throughout his service,” Moore said.

Springfield Director of Aviation Brian Weiler said Blunt has been involved in some of the airport’s major developments, like Envoy Air putting a maintenance base for American Airlines planes at the airport, but that Blunt has also been involved in some “less glamorous” but essential work.

“He’s played a direct role in many of the improvements that have been such a success for the airport,” Weiler said. “I will tell you, we’ve been fighting to keep funding for our 24-hour air traffic control tower, to have staffing for our TSA exit lanes, things like that. He is always willing to listen and willing to help us with these initiatives.”

In February 2020, Blunt helped the Springfield-Branson National Airport secure an Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant for more than $7 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant funded runway and taxiway improvements.

“This investment is great news for businesses and families in the area,” Blunt said at the time of the grant award. “This project will improve passenger safety and help the airport keep up with growing travel demand. I appreciate the administration for investing in this project, which has been a top infrastructure priority for the city. I’ll continue advocating for programs like AIP that play an important role in helping to strengthen our state’s transportation networks.”

The 2020 grant package went to reconstruct 1,900 feet of taxiway pavement, rehabilitate another 2,866 feet of taxiway pavement, and rehabilitate 400 feet of Runway 2/20, the eastern runway at the Springfield-Branson National Airport.

The Springfield-Branson National Airport serves 13 commercial flight destinations on four different airlines. (Photo by Rance Burger)

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger