Where the over $84M awarded to American Samoa for airports over last 6 years has gone
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — More than $84 million was allocated and spent in project costs for American Samoa’s three airports between FY 2013 and 2019 under the federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP), according to a financial report presentation by Port Administration at last Friday’s cabinet meeting.
Airport grants business manager, Falenaoti Loi-0n Fruean shared funding data of airport projects for Pago Pago International Airport, and the domestic airports at Fitiuta and Ofu in Manu’a.
Part of Port Administration’s overall powerpoint presentation covered funding for all current and previous airport projects since the Lolo Administration took office starting from FY 2013 to the current fiscal year, which officially ends Sept. 30th.
According to the presentation, 90% of the total projects for all three airports is funded by the US Federal Aviation Administration through the AIP, while 10% is the local government share.
Overall total of airport projects between FY 2013 and 2019 stands at over $84.8 million, with more than $78.16 million provided by the FAA and $6.64 million by ASG.
Loi-0n Fruean explained that the international airport has an annual entitlement of $1 million; but based on the financial spreadsheet report shown to cabinet members, the airport was fortunate to receive more than $1 million for several fiscal years.
The additional money — above the entitlement — is called “discretionary funds” which are competitive grants for states and territories in the Western Pacific region to compete for. She said competing for this grant is not an easy task and Port Administration, along with ASG, had fought hard to secure this additional funding.
Total funds for the Tafuna Airport between FY 2013 and 2019 is $71.81 million — with $65.66 million in federal share and $6.15 million from ASG. She thanked Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga for his continued support of Port Administration, in providing the local share.
According to the financial report, the largest project amount of $25.83 million - $23.30 million from the feds and $2.53 million from ASG - is the “Rehabilitate Terminal Apron — Phase 3 Construction, Stages 2-6.” which started in FY 2018 and is ongoing.
Loi-On Fruean said 90% of the projects between FY 2013 and 2019 have been completed, and contractors paid, while 10% is ongoing.
She thanked the US Department of Interior for past funding of $350,000 a year for Port Administration under the Capital Improvement Project (CIP).
Port Administration is no longer getting this money, she pointed out, before asking DOI to look at including Port Administration under that particular grant funding.
DOI’s field representative, Lydia Faleafine-Nomura was in attendance at the cabinet meeting.
Loi-0n Fruean explained that Ofu and Fitiuta each qualify for $150,000 annually under the AIP, and there is a separate FAA funding program for additional money in which the two domestic airports qualify for, but not the Tafuna Airport.
The amount is $1.6 million a year, she said.
For Ofu, total project costs between FY 2013-2019 is $7.36 million — $7 million from the feds and the balance by ASG. For Fitiuta, total project costs are $5.62 million with $5.49 paid by the FAA and ASG coughing up the balance.