The Commonwealth Ports Authority is receiving an additional $1,531,825 in federal funding to replace three passenger loading bridges at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.
The money, according to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) yesterday, is being added to the $3,761,807 announced in July in response to higher than expected bids submitted for the work.
Total funding for the three jet bridges is now $5,293,632.
“First-class airports cost money to build and maintain,” Sablan said. “And with tourism as the main driver of our economy, the Northern Marianas has to provide a first-class visitor experience that is comfortable, convenient, and safe from the moment our guests step off their plane to the moment they depart.
“Today’s investment of federal funds will help ensure that tourists and traveling residents, as well, have a good travel experience.”
The funding going to the CPA comes through the Federal Aviation Administration.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $16.6 billion for the FAA in fiscal year 2018, a $153-million increase over this year’s appropriation.
The Francisco C. Ada/ Saipan International Airport is federally designated as a small-hub primary airport, which makes it eligible to share in these funds that Congress provides to the FAA.
“Without this investment of federal dollars,” said Sablan, “small-hub airports—like Saipan’s and others around our country—would find it difficult to keep up with the multi-million dollars costs of keeping facilities modernized and in good repair.”
Small-hub airports handle about 9 percent of total U.S. passenger traffic, but receive 14 percent of federal airport improvement monies. (PR)