FAA Renewal Results in $6 Million Annually for Hawaii Airports

February 16, 2012, 11:09 AM HST · Updated February 16, 12:54 PM
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Honolulu International Airport, runway. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Hawaii’s airports will receive an additional $6 million in funding in each of the next four years under a new law signed by the president on Valentine’s Day.

The additional funds for capital improvements and basic maintenance are made possible through an amendment authored by Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.

The amendment takes into account the number of interisland passengers when calculating Hawaii’s annual share of Airport Improvement Program grants.

“The new FAA accounting of interisland passengers will provide a more accurate picture of how many travelers are using Hawaii’s airports, allowing for greater federal funding for improvements and maintenance projects,” said state Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto.

Interisland passengers were not part of the equation in the past because Passenger Facility Charges, which fund the Airport Improvement Program, are not collected for interisland travel.

Kahului Airport, controll tower. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The law, transportation officials say, also preserves the Essential Air Service Program, which provides affordable air service to the residents of Kalaupapa on Molokai.

Okimoto expressed gratitude to Rep. Hirono  saying, “Efforts like this from our congressional delegation are vital to the department and the people of Hawaii.”

Hirono said the funding would help Hawaii’s airports make critical improvements, resulting in safer airports and more jobs.

Hirono said that while there is a lot of good in the law, she said it is not perfect.  “I am especially concerned about provisions that undermine the rights of airline and railroad workers. We will have to work hard to see that these rights are restored in the future,” she said.

The Department of Transportation in Hawaii operates 15 airports across the state, serving an average of 25 million passengers each year.

***Supporting information courtesy Hawaii DOT & the office of Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.

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