The Federal Aviation Administration signed off on the state’s plans to revamp Kona International Airport, at least where the National Environmental Policy Act regulations are concerned.

The FAA published its finding of no significant impact Sunday. Brian Armstrong, the FAA’s acting manager for the airports division, noted the project “will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”

Any potential project impacts will be mitigated, the federal approval said.

The document is another step toward beginning work on the $70 million airport expansion project. State Department of Transportation officials last year, when they released the project’s final environmental assessment, said they expected construction on the first phase to begin last September.

DOT spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said the first step, relocating the Onizuka Space Center, is still expected to cost about $7 million. She did not have a date when construction would begin. The work was delayed while the department waited for additional funding, she said.

Related projects at the airport include a $9 million re-roofing project, which could begin in about a month, Sluyter said.

The project will connect the airport’s two terminals into one building featuring a centralized check-in area, more room for concessionaires and a below-ground baggage handling system. It will also include an explosive detection system and an upgraded passenger communication system.

Email Erin Miller at emiller@westhawaiitoday.com.

 

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