• The San Juan Daily Star

Nearly $7 million in FAA grants to be invested in regional airports

Most of $6.88 million granted by the Federal Aviation Administration will be invested to improve regional airport infrastructure in Puerto Rico.

By John McPhaul

Puerto Rico Ports Authority (Ports) Executive Director Joel Pizá Batiz announced on Monday the projects in which most of the $6.88 million granted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be invested, through five new grants, to improve airport infrastructure in Puerto Rico.

Pizá Batiz said the subsidy for Grant 1, amounting to $1.79 million, is aimed at planning projects for several regional airports, which breaks down into three particular areas:

1. Updating of the Airports Layout Plan (ALP) for eight regional airports, which includes ALP plans or drawings and a narrative report for the airports of Arecibo, Isla Grande, Ceiba, Culebra, Vieques, Humacao, Ponce and Mayagüez airports. It also includes preparing the Airport Property Maps for those same eight airports.

2. Detailed planning for Isla Grande Airport. The current and future critical aircraft and the resulting Airport Reference Code will be evaluated and then the required projects necessary to meet applicable FAA airport design standards will be determined.

3. Updating of the Pavement Management Program. This task will result in updated pavement condition index values for landing zone pavements at all airports: ABO, SIG, RVR, CPX, VQS, X63, PSE, MAZ, and Aguadilla (BQN). Over the past 18 months, the Ports Authority has launched the most ambitious pavement reconstruction program in the past 40 years. With this assignment, an analysis will be made and the quality of these processes will be confirmed.

Grant 2, amounting to $86,576, is aimed at acquiring two fire suppression “ARFF Test Kits” for the Aguadilla and Ponce airports. The equipment is a test system designed to test foam firing equipment without the impact of foam used on the environment.

Grant 3, amounting to $1.95 million, is directed to the Mercedita Ponce Airport, for the Rehabilitation Design of the Pavement of the Runway and East Portion of Taxiway Grant 4, amounting to $815,850, is directed to the Isla Grande Airport, in San Juan, for the Rehabilitation Design of the Runway Pavement and environmental studies to rehabilitate the Runway Safety Area (RSA). The RSA is one of the most critical areas of an airport and must be in optimal condition in order to have a firm taxiing area available in case an aircraft cannot take off due to some unforeseen situation.

Grant 5, amounting to $20,000 is aimed at complementing the funds for the Aguadilla airport runway project and the acquisition of a Quick Dash Class II truck, a vehicle necessary to strengthen air rescue operations.

Pizá Batiz said the funds for the latter three new grants come from the second round of the airport improvement program in the United States and its territories. He said they are part of a $518 million FAA allocation to improve the security and infrastructure of airports, taking into account their great economic and logistical importance.

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