Island airports receive $47.8 million in federal recovery funds
By John McPhaul
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced on Monday allocations of federal funds for nine airports around the island totaling $47,803,040, for assistance in the payment of rent and other expenses to concessionaires, as well as cleaning and disinfection to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“In the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives, we have taken the opportunity to obtain the funds to sustain the operations of the airports, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus with money for the sanitation of the facilities, making them compatible with the opening of the economy and ensuring the health of employees and travelers,” the resident commissioner said in a written statement.
Regarding the aid items for the payment of rent and other expenses borne by concessionaires, the resident commissioner added that “these funds are to help our merchants who are at the airport and have seen the loss of passengers, avoid having to close their operations.”
The funds were identified and approved in Congress within the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, which, among other things, allocates funds to the Federal Aviation Administration under the United States Department of Transportation.
To help in the payment of rent and other expenses to concessionaires, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina will receive $3.9 million; Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, $316,912; Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci in Isla Grande, $13,948; Benjamín Rivera Noriega in Culebra, $18,856; Antonio Rivera Rodríguez in Vieques, $31,702; Mercedita in Ponce, $88,165; and José Aponte de la Torre in Ceiba, $20,694.
The second allocation is financial assistance for costs related to operations, staffing, cleaning, disinfection, cleaning services, paying debt service, and fighting the spread of pathogens at the airport. For those purposes, Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport in Vieques will receive $1.2 million; Benjamín Rivera Noriega in Culebra, $1.1 million; Eugenio María De Hostos in Mayagüez, $59,000; José Aponte de la Torre in Ceiba, $1.1 million; Luis Muñoz Marín in Carolina, $31.7 million; Mercedita in Ponce, $1.8 million; Antonio/Nery/Juarbe Pol in Arecibo, $32,000; Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci in Isla Grande, $1.08 million; and Rafael Hernández in Aguadilla, $5.2 million.