FAA allocates $8 million to boost capital improvements at airports
By John McPhaul
Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá Batiz on Wednesday announced the awarding of a grant of over $8 million by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to subsidize capital improvement projects in the island’s airport system.
The award comes as a result of the congressional approval of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law promulgated by the administration of President Joe Biden, which enabled about $2.9 billion for infrastructure projects in more than 3,000 airports around the United States. In keeping with the anticipated purpose of the grant -- whose parameters and final guidelines will be specified by the FAA shortly -- Pizá Batiz noted that Ports will propose to the FAA to use the funds to expand the capital improvement program at its airports.
Specifically, the Ports chief announced his intention to request that the items be used for the expansion project of the passenger terminal and installation of jet bridges at Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla (BQN). Likewise, he envisioned the use of the funds to improve road access outside the operational areas at Fernando L. Ribas Dominicci airport in Isla Grande, Eugenio María de Hostos in Mayagüez (MAZ) and Mercedita in Ponce (PSE).
Other airports that will also benefit from the funds are Antonio “Nery” Juarbe in Arecibo (ABO), José Aponte de la Torre in Ceiba (RVR), Hermenegildo Ortiz Quiñones in Humacao (X63), Benjamín Rivera Noriega in Culebra (CPX) and Antonio Rivera Rodríguez in Vieques (VQS). At those airports, the possibility of improving parking lots and drop-off areas is under consideration.
Transportation and Public Works Secretary Eileen Vélez Vega said “this is one more step in the right direction to achieve a Puerto Rico with better infrastructure at our airports.”
“This allocation of funds is consistent with our priority to maximize federal funds and thus continue to generate the trust placed in our government to manage these important funds in a responsible manner and for the benefit of the people,” she said.
“The awarding of this grant will allow us to continue advancing the commitment and public policy promoted by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi to optimize our airport assets in structural and operational terms for the enjoyment of all,” Pizá Batiz added.