Puerto Rico Airports to Receive $42.9 Million from Cares Act
As Part of Combined $10 Billion in Relief Amid Pandemic
SAN JUAN – The U.S. Transportation Department’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be awarding approximately $10 billion to commercial and general aviation airports from the newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Airport Grant Program.
The CARES Act provides new funds distributed by various formulas for all airports that are part of the national airport system. This includes all commercial service airports, all reliever airports and some public-owned general aviation airports.
Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced that the first tranche of funds for airports on the island totals nearly $43 million.
“It is important that our airports continue to receive the necessary support to operate during and after the crisis in order to boost the island’s economic engine and tourism,” the resident commissioner said in a statement.
The grants will provide economic relief to airports affected by the Covid-19 public health emergency. The funding will support continuing operations and replace lost revenue resulting from the sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business due to the public health emergency. The funds are available for airport capital expenditures, airport operating expenses including payroll and utilities, and airport debt payments.
As a result of the funds allocated for the emergency, Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport will receive $33.4 million; Aguadilla Rafael Hernández Airport will receive $3.5 million; the Arecibo Antonio / Nery / Juarbe Pol Airport will receive $20,000; Ceiba’s José Aponte de La Torre Airport will receive about $1.1 million; and Culebra’s Benjamín Rivera Noriega Airport will receive nearly $1.1 million.
In addition, Humacao’s Dr. Hermenegildo Ortiz Quiñones airport will receive $20,000; Eugenio María De Hostos in Mayagüez will receive $69,000; Ponce’s Mercedita Airport will receive $1.6 million; San Juan’s Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci will receive nearly $1.1 million; and Vieques’ Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport will receive a little more than $1.1 million.
The CARES Act also provides funds to increase the Federal share to 100 percent for grants awarded under the fiscal year 2020 appropriations for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and Supplemental Discretionary grants. Under normal circumstances, AIP grant recipients contribute a matching percentage of the project costs. Providing this additional funding and eliminating the local share will allow critical safety and capacity projects to continue as planned regardless of airport sponsors’ current financial circumstances.
“This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said a release issued by her agency.