Inouye secures $6.5M for Kona Airport tower
KAILUA-KONA » The Kona Airport control tower, a wooden structure built 36 years ago as a temporary facility, is riddled with termites.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye announced yesterday that he has succeeded in having $6.5 million in U.S. Department of Transportation funds redirected for design and construction of a new tower. The total cost of a new tower is estimated at $26 million.
Inouye described an inspection visit he made Feb. 22.
"I saw that the tower, built of wood, has been weakened by termites. In addition to the structural problems, the tower's location and height do not provide air traffic controllers with adequate visibility of a portion of the runway," he said in a statement.
The tower is also open to the public, which creates a security risk, he said.
A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Inouye asked the Federal Aviation Administration to provide a timetable for the completion of site and design assessment and beginning of construction of a new tower.
With the initial $6.5 million being only enough to get the project started, Inouye said he will seek funding to complete construction.