PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The governmental body that oversees the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport received a $500,000 federal grant that officials hope will get a new Western city destination.

The grant, from the U.S. Transportation Department, is through the Small Community Air Service Development Program and requires the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria to use its own matching funds. According to the transportation department, 48 communities applied and 20 cities received some form of funding.

Gene Olson, the authority’s airport director, said the money would be used to underwrite a revenue guarantee for an airline so Peoria’s airport could get another hub in the western United States.

The authority got letters of support from both American Airlines and United Airlines, indicating a high level of support by those carriers to provide service through their Western Hub markets making it easier for central Illinois travelers to get to and beyond those destinations.

“Many of our top 50 destination cities are to the west, and the Peoria community has a lack of connecting flights in that direction. Our businesses and partners need improved connections to the places they need to go.”, Olson said. “So, this potential for new service is a huge opportunity for our community.”

Olson said the hope is to get daily service to that western hub city.