The Rota Leadership First Senatorial District has set aside some $10 million of its Capital Improvement Project funds for the extension of the Rota International Airport runway.
In a letter sent to Commonwealth Ports Authority Executive Director Carlos H. Salas, Rota Mayor Benjamin T. Manglona expressed hope that either CPA or FAA can match the amount to complete the runway extension project and carry out other improvements at the airport facilities.
Since the island’s economy is the number one priority of Rota’s political leaders, Manglona urged Salas to proceed without unnecessary delays the planning on the project.
“We consider this to be a top priority project and are committed to find the matching funds to draw down the recommended funds for immediate implementation of the project,” said Manglona.
With the planned improvements in Saipan and Tinian airports, Manglona has expressed concern that the ports authority has neglected the island in planning for its future.
While he commends Salas for planning ahead for Saipan and Tinian’s future, Manglona said he hopes the ports authority will do the same for the island-municipality of Rota.
The runway improvement, Manglona noted, is an important component of the island’s economic development to stimulate Rota’s growth which depends primarily on tourism industry.
As the ports authority is scheduled to build a new runway on the island-municipality of Tinian, this will leave Rota as the only airport in the CNMI that cannot accommodate larger, wider bodied aircraft.
Such situation will deprive Rota from receiving international flights between major airports like Guam and Saipan, thus, hampering its economic development, Manglona pointed out.
However, Salas assured Rota’s political leaders that the plan for the island’s airport is included in the master plan of the ports authority, thus, it will definitely be undertaken at the right time.
Recently, CPA and the Municipality of Rota have signed a Memorandum of Agreement in connection with the repair of Rota International Airport runway.
Based on the MOA, the Rota Municipality will reimburse the ports authority of the cost of the A&E Design work amounting to $68,000 using CIP funds earmarked for the project.