The Puerto Rico Ports Authority, which owns the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina, will receive more than $2.5 million under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant program.
The funds are for the proposed design and installation of a combined heat and power generation system at the facility, the federal agency said.
The project seeks to implement a new system that will increase redundancy and reduce service interruption at the largest international travel hub in the Caribbean, which in 2019 received some 9.2 million passengers.
Beyond the initial design phase, the completed project may include additional funding for construction costs, which will total an estimated $57 million.
Likewise, the completed project will also allow the airport to operate for seven days at 90 percent capacity in the event of an atmospheric event or other emergency that may cause power failure, Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo, said.
“The international airport is an essential part of the local economy, which also connects residents of Puerto Rico with their families and loved ones living abroad. Ensuring that this link is not affected is what inspires us to continue our mission of strategically strengthening the Island,” said Amparo.
The cogeneration equipment that is part of this first planning phase will operate along with the existing power grid. Similarly, engineering designs, electrical studies and permitting will be made in compliance with environmental and safety requirements during this initial period.
“Because we’re an island, maintaining the operation of the main airport after an emergency is a high priority project for the Authority. We are grateful to FEMA for this important funding allocation, which will allow for the reimbursement of the first phase of the project that consists of the study and design aspect,” said Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá-Batiz.
For his part, the Executive Director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, Ottmar Chavez, said “mitigation projects are a fundamental part of the process of rebuilding Puerto Rico. Impacting critical structures and services raises the level of preparedness for future events.”
Hazard mitigation aims to reduce the loss of life and property following a disaster through sustainable actions such as planning and zoning, and other measures that support long-term solutions.
This funding allocation is provided under section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, FEMA confirmed.