VI Port Authority Board OKs Private-Public Venture to Finance Airport Upgrades

Sept. 23, 2022

Sep. 22—The V.I. Port Authority governing board has authorized Executive Director Carlton Dowe to seek out public-private partnerships to fund terminal expansions at King Airport on St. Thomas, and Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix.

During its regularly monthly meeting on Wednesday, board members voted to have Dowe "solicit firms and groups who may be interested and qualified to participate in a P3 airport financing project."

A P3 or public/private partnership, is a financing model that would enable the government to collaborate with a private company on the project.

"Interested firms will be selected to submit a proposal for the financing of the airports' modernization," VIPA said in a statement released following the meeting "Once a firm is selected, VIPA will negotiate a long-term contract with the firm to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the airports as a means for the company to be repaid and gain a return on their investment."

Both airports sustained damage during 2017s twin hurricanes, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded recovery grant money in 2019 to expand both airports.

Phase one, which was funded by a $7 million grant, included expanding the Rohlsen domestic passenger lounge, which was completed in December 2021. At King airport, the construction of a parking and transportation center is underway, and is being funded by a $20 million grant. The project's expected completion date is summer 2023.

According to the Authority's website, plans also call for adding multiple jet bridges to both terminals, more concession spaces and amenities to enhance the customer experience, improve passenger flow within the airport terminal building, improve landside traffic flows and improve the aesthetics at the territory's airport terminals — all of which to are to be funded by the Authority.

According to Dowe, the board authorized him to pursue a P3 option "as a financial and procurement alternative to improve the customer experience and capacity to meet market demand, modernize our aging airport terminals and infrastructure while also focused on resiliency and sustainability."

Under the planned P3 project, VIPA will get a private partner to invest in terminal improvements and other enhancement of its airports, but will remain ownership of the territory's airports.

A Request for Proposals or RFP will be issued by year's end, according to discussions at the meeting.

The board also took the following actions:

—Ratified poll votes approving Federal Aviation Airport Improvement Program Grants to purchase aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment and to rehabilitate the runways and taxiways at the Rohlsen and King airports.

—Approved the renewal of the non-exclusive lease agreement for Texas Pit to sell food at the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront bulkhead.

—Approved a payment plan agreement between VIPA and O'Neale's Trucking and Trailer Transport for $45,407.77 to address past due rent.

—Approved a one-year landscaping contract with Double-A Cleaning Services for $159,800 to maintain VIPA's non-aeronautical properties on St. Thomas.

—Approved a generator maintenance and repair service contract with MLC Holdings LLC dba Import Supply for one year, with option to renew for an additional one year of service in the St.Thomas- St. John District.

—Approved a contract, not to exceed $147,746, for with Bermello, Ajamil & Partners to conduct a rate study of the Authority's marine operations to meet and comply with the Indenture of Trust Agreement between the Authority and the U.S. Bank National Association.

—Approved a contract for $1,335,173 with Rodriguez Garland, Inc. to renovate the Loredon Lorence Boynes, Sr. Dock in Cruz Bay, St. John. This project is funded via appropriations from the V.I. Legislature.

—Approved a contract for $209,817.50 with Continental Construction and Engineering for the Urman Victor Fredericks Marine Terminal Restroom Renovations Project.

—Approved Amendment No. 1 to Task Order No. 11 issued to VIPA's CEKA aviation Consultant Kimley-Horn and Associates to provide construction phase services related to the Parking and Transportation that should not exceed $1,199,840.

—Approved Task Order No. 38, authorizing VIPA's King aviation consultant Kimley-Horn Associates to provide construction phase services for King Taxiway A West Reconstruction project that should not exceed $1,775,065.

—Approved Task Order No. 39 to Kimley-Horn and Associates to provide design services related to the Runway 10-28 Rehabilitation project that should not exceed $1,618,175.

—Authorized Task Order No. 20B issued to American Infrastructure Development (AID), VIPA's HERA aviation consultant to provide construction phase services related to the Taxiway A and B Rehabilitation that should not exceed $233,558.

—Rescinded the Board's action to award TMZ Construction for the storm panel repairs at Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility that was given at the board meeting held on Feb. 16.

—Authorized the Executive Director to accept the bid proposed by Tang How Brothers, Inc. for the Repair of Storm Panels at Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility Project for $321,700. This project is funded via an appropriation from the 34th Legislature.

—Approved the Change Order Request #17 submitted by AT Construction Solutions LLC for the replacement of exterior soffits of the Gordon A. Finch Marine Cargo Terminal that should not exceed $60,227.36.

—Approved Change Order Request No. 18 submitted by AT Construction Solutions LLC for the relocation of the air handling unit condenser of the Gordon A. Finch Marine Cargo Building that should not exceed $26,290.91 to adhere to the requirements set forth by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

—Authorized the executive director to accept the bid from Tang How Brothers, Inc. to repair the old Engineering/Purchasing building at HERA in the amount of $267,400

Board members in attendance were Board Chairman Willard John of St. Croix, Board Secretary Kevin Rodriquez, Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte, Attorney General Denise George, Celestino A. White Sr. of St. Thomas and Lionel Jacobs of St. Croix. Public Works Commissioner Derek Gabriel, who serves as vice chairman of the board, was absent.

— Contact Iyanla Irby at 340-7154-9104 or email


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