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By Liberty Dones Variety News Staff

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (August 21, 2002 – Marianas Variety)--Tinian will receive an additional $2.3 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Commonwealth Ports Authority announced.

"The FAA is preparing the grant for the additional work (planned for) Tinian airport," CPA Executive Director Carlos H. Salas said.

He said the grant will be used for Tinian airport’s taxiway and apron construction.

Salas said this will bring to $15.5 million the total federal grant funding earmarked for the Tinian runway rehabilitation project, which is expected to be completed next month.

The FAA will also release $5.6 million for Saipan International Airport’s security system improvement and $1.5 million for the construction of the aircraft rescue and firefighting classrooms, Salas said.

The airport security grant will be used for structural improvements and purchase of necessary equipment, including surveillance cameras.

The FAA took an active part in efforts to improve the local airports’ security system following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

The FAA said it would finance the purchase of sophisticated equipment needed to counter terrorism, including possible biochemical attacks and entry of hazardous materials.

Officers from the Transportation Security Administration recently completed a site assessment of Saipan and Tinian airports, a preliminary step to federalizing airport security screening in the CNMI.

The federalization process involves a site survey, checkpoint reconfiguration and personnel deployment.

Federal personnel who will take over the airport security screening are expected to arrive by November.

The CNMI is one of the first group of 23 sites that have undergone Transportation Security Administration assessments.

For additional reports from the Marianas Variety, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/ Marianas Variety.

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