|Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that Congress
has recently approved $5,882,113.00 in federal funds for runway extension
projects in American Samoa. The Pago Pago International airport in
Tafuna will get $4 million for runway extension while the Fitiuta airport
will get $1,882,113.00 also for the same purpose.
The funds are approved under the 2000 Transportation Appropriations
and The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st
Century. Although the funds were initially approved during the last
Congress, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is required by law to
obtain final approval of Congress for both grants as they each exceed the
one-million dollar level.
“I am extremely pleased that the Appropriations committees in Congress
approved these much needed funds so our airports can be upgraded to meet
FAA standards,” Faleomavaega said.
The majority of the funds - $4 million for Pago Pago International
Airport and $1,446,066.00 for Fitiuta Airport - are approved under the
discretion of the Secretary of Transportation based on the merits of the
grant proposals according to the DOT. The balance of $416,047.00
is considered entitlement funds and is non-competitive.
“This is welcome news for our territory especially in terms of our
overall long-term economic development,” Faleomavaega said. “By extending
the runway at our main airport on Tutuila, we would meet the design standards
that are required in order for large aircraft to land without any weight
restrictions. And extending the runway at the Fitiuta airport will
provide additional safety for night-time flight operations as well as for
emergency medical flights,” Faleomavaega said.
“Just a couple of weeks ago, our territory also received $2.2 million
in Federal entitlement funds for construction of new Aircraft Rescue and
Fire Fighting buildings in Tafuna and Fitiuta airports as well as for purchase
of an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicle for the Fitiuta Airport,”
Faleomavaega said. “Needless to say, I am very pleased the Federal
assistance for our airports will greatly improve the safety of our traveling
public and the way of life for our general population.”
“Once again, I congratulate Director Abe Malae and his staff at
the Department of Port Administration for submitting the successful proposals
and for the tremendous job they continue to do in improving our airports,”