Aging infrastructure at the Honolulu International Airport will get some much-needed attention through $16.5 million in three new grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Hawaii’s congressional delegation disclosed Wednesday in a joint announcement.

Nearly $15.2 million will be devoted to widening one of the airport’s runways by 50 feet so that it meets design standards, while another $1 million will pay for an update to the master and airport layout plans “to address critical issues in the airport’s future development,” the statement said. The airport’s dated airfield lighting system will be rehabilitated with the remaining $500,000 to enhance safety and visibility.

All three grants are being awarded in the final days this month of fiscal year 2015, meaning funding will be available to support the three projects immediately.

“When we invest in airport infrastructure, we grow our tourism industry, connect families and businesses, and make our transportation system operate more safely and efficiently for everyone,” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, in the news release. “These funds will provide Honolulu International Airport with the resources it needs to make key improvements that will make it safer and easier for Hawai’i families and visitors to travel to and from our state.”

Reps. Mark Takai and Tulsi Gabbard respectively called the grants “crucial investment” for future growth of the state and “long overdue,” while Sen. Mazie Hirono placed them in the context of the state’s singular dependence on reliable air travel — “as an island state, there is no real alternative to meet our everyday transportation needs.”

Honolulu International Airport takeoff. 7 april 2015. photograph by Cory Lum/Civil Beat

New funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation will fund runway widening at the Honolulu International Airport.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

 

 

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