The US Air Force has signed a lease for land on the Tinian Islands that will allow them to conduct operational exercises and training.
The Commonwealth Ports Authority, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) government and the U.S. Department of Defense finalised and signed a 40-year lease agreement worth $21.9 million for the US Air Force divert airfield on Tinian Island, on May 3. The CPA board of directors, led by chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds, approved a CPA resolution on the lease agreement with the DoD during the CPA board meeting at the Tinian International Airport’s departure terminal.
The divert project is designed and designated to provide strategic operational and exercise capabilities for U.S. forces when needed and offer humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in times of natural or man-made disasters. It is also hoped the deal will provide economic growth for the island.
Col. Michael E. Gimbrone, Pacific Air Forces Force Posture Division chief said: “This lease agreement is the product of many years of close collaboration.”
“It reflects a long-term commitment to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands filled with exciting opportunities that will further strengthen the mutually beneficial partnership between the Department of Defense and CNMI.”
The Record of Decision for the Divert Activities and Exercises Environmental Impact Survey was signed on December 7, 2016, and announced the U.S. Air Force decision to select the Modified Tinian Alternative and specifically the North Option, as a future divert location. The signing of the leasing agreement now puts more than four years of coordinated planning to action.
The proposed actions consist of constructing a fuel pipeline and support infrastructure for a safer, more reliable, secure and efficient method of fuel transfer eliminating the need for fuel tanks at the seaport and performing roadway improvements to facilitate heavy vehicle traffic and ensure the roads continue to provide adequate service to the local community. These projects will allow the Air Force to put down concrete on the north side of Tinian’s airport to allow for larger aircraft to land—aircraft that can be used for refuelling missions.
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