$8.9 Million Grant Earmarked for Safety Improvements at Territory’s Airports
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) has submitted the required documents to receive an $8,859,506 Airport Improvement Program grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) via the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The funding is part of FAA’s award of more than $1.2 billion in airport safety and infrastructure grants to airports in all 50 states, the territories, and the freely associated states of the United States of America. The AIP grant funds can only be used for the airport projects outlined in the grant award. VIPA is normally required to provide a ten percent match for each project per AIP grant guidelines. However, the 10 percent match is covered by the FAA according to the terms of the CARES Act. Therefore, the projects under this grant are 100 percent funded by the USDOT.
VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe thanked the USDOT for the allotment of the funds to the U. S. Virgin Islands. “This pandemic and its negative effect on travel have caused an incredible strain on the Port Authority’s finances. The Airport Improvement Program grant award allows the Authority to make critical safety repairs to our airports’ infrastructure. This helps us to ensure that travel and commerce at the Territory’s airports can be conducted safely,” he said.
The grant provides $4,711,111 to fund the construction phase to rehabilitate 5,305 square yards of failing pavement at the Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA) on St. Thomas. The grant will also fund the design of Phase Two, which will encompass the reconstruction of an additional 11,000 square yards of faulty pavement at CEKA. The pavement has deteriorated due to normal wear and tear caused by the weight of the aircraft that drive and park on the airport’s tarmac.
A total of $4,148,395 is allotted for the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (HERA). The monies will be used to reconstruct and repair the lighting system at the airport’s runway and Taxiway A. The project involves the replacement of the airfield’s aging edge light system with new LED runway and taxiway edge lights, new conduit, and cabling. A new airfield electrical vault will be built and will include an emergency generator as well as a home run electrical system. All runway and edge lights on taxiways A, B, E, F, and G will be replaced.