Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation has notified him that the American Samoa Government (ASG) will receive over $7.5 million for improvements at Pago Pago, Fitiuta and Ofu Airports.
“In accordance with general provisions of the Appropriations Act or Continuing Resolution governing Department of Transportation appropriations, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation must notify the House and Senate Committees on Appropriation at least three full business days before the Department of Transportation may issue any public announcements and before funds can be made available,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“Last Friday and again today, the House Committee on Transportation and also the U.S. Department of Transportation notified me that ASG will receive $4 million to construct an aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) building at the Pago Pago International Airport and I am pleased by this announcement. ASG will also receive over $3.5 million for other improvements at the Pago Pago, Fitiuta and Ofu Airports.”
“An emergency generator and a new wind cone will be installed at the Fitiuta Airport on the island of Ta’u. About $715,000 will also be used to construct an aircraft rescue and fire fighting building at Fitiuta Airport.”
“Federal funding will also be used to conduct an environmental assessment study for a runway extension at Ofu Airport. An additional $280,000 will be used to rehabilitate the runway at Ofu Airport and to install a new wind cone.”
“$500,000 will be used to rehabilitate the aircraft apron at the Pago Pago International Airport. The aircraft apron has numerous cracks and is deteriorating from fuel and water seepage. An additional $330,000 has been set aside for rehabilitation and repair work for Runway 5/23, the runway safety areas, and the perimeter fencing at Pago Pago International Airport. Over $1 million in federal funds will be used to construct an ARFF training facility at the Pago Pago International Airport.”
“At this time, I want to commend Governor Togiola for his efforts, initiative and leadership. I also want to thank Mr. Seugogo Ben Schirmer, Director of the Department of Port Administration, and Mr. Peter Lefiti, Airport Director, for their hard work. As a result of their commitment and with the help of our friends in Congress, ASG will receive over $7.5 million in federal funds to improve our airports and ensure the safety of our residents.”
“Again, I thank members of Congress for setting aside funds for ASG on an annual basis to assist with our airport improvements and I also commend Governor Togiola for making sure that ASG competes for additional discretionary funds. Discretionary funds do not come automatic. American Samoa, like every other State and Territory, must compete for federal discretionary funds, except in the case of emergencies, like Cyclone Heta.”
“ASG, for example, secured federal funding for the new ARFF buildings as a result of competing for discretionary funds. Additionally, Congress has set aside emergency funds and annual appropriations which are also being used and are included in this $7.5 million effort to improve our airports. I am pleased that the federal government continues to support us and I join with Governor Togiola in thanking everyone involved for working together to improve and restore our airports to operational safety in the aftermath of Cyclone Heta,” the Congressman concluded.