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Aguadilla airport traffic control tower eligible for federal upgrade funds

The air traffic control tower at Aguadilla’s Rafael Hernández Airport has been identified as eligible to receive funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for upgrades, the agency announced.

In a release, the agency announced it has opened the application process for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to modernize air traffic control towers at many small town and municipal airports.

The FAA will fund projects that sustain, construct, repair, improve, modernize, replace, or relocate airport-owned towers and install communications equipment.

The Aguadilla airport, which has a total of 64,415 annual landings and departures was the only one identified as eligible in Puerto Rico.

“Residents of smaller and rural communities rely on aviation to get where they need to go. This funding will help ensure that air traffic is safe and reliable in communities across America,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The FAA Contract Tower Competitive Grant program provides $20 million annually for five years within the newly established Airport Infrastructure Grant program. Grants awarded under this program are at a 100% federal participation. No airport match is required.

There are currently around 156 airports with air traffic control contract towers eligible for this funding. These towers are staffed by employees of private companies rather than by FAA employees. The FAA pays for the services on a contract basis.

The FAA’s Contract Tower Program began in 1982 to allow the agency to contract out the operation of certain low-activity towers.

“This funding will allow airport sponsors to build or repair their facilities to meet safety standards and be environmentally friendly and sustainable,” said FAA Associate Administrator of Airports Shannetta Griffin.

Airports are encouraged to submit eligible projects as soon as possible but must do so by May 16, 2022, the agency noted.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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