VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Air Reserve Station is receiving $8.7 million as part of the newly-passed National Defense Authorization Act.

The funding will be used to widen an assault runway to allow C-17 and C-130 pilots to perform required training landings in the Mahoning Valley.

According to a news release from Sen. Rob Portman’s office, the upgrade is expected to improve military readiness as well as strengthen the strategic viability of the base into the future.

Portman says he fought for YARS, which employs more than 2,000 people, to ensure it has the resources it needs to perform its mission. He discussed the need for a runway expansion with base leaders during a visit in June of this year. 

He released the following statement: 

I am pleased that funding to widen the assault runway located at YARS has passed as part of our annual defense authorization bill. Currently, due to scheduling delays, clogged runways, and increased costs due to the required additional fuel consumption, YARS aircraft and crews must travel to Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina to perform required training landings. This funding will allow our YARS servicemen and women to conduct this vital training in the Mahoning Valley. As the largest employer in Trumbull County, YARS has had a significant economic impact on the region, deployed its resources to those in need across the globe, and defended the values we hold dearest as Americans.”

The National Defense Authorization Act, which sets spending top-lines and policy for the Pentagon, passed the House last week and now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk, where he’s expected to sign it.