LOS ANGELES — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on March 3 released $96.6 million for the construction of capital improvement projects at state airports.

"Our airports are the first impression of Hawaii for many of our visitors and these improvements, in conjunction with our Hawaii Airports Modernization Program, will help turn them into safer, world-class facilities," Abercrombie said in a prepared statement.

Projects like these combined with stabilization in the tourism industry will help to strengthen the economy by adding construction jobs, according to the governor.

The majority of the funds, some $50 million, will fund Taxiway Z structural improvements at Honolulu International Airport. Those funds will also be used for pavement reconstruction of Taxiway Z and new pavement markings will be replaced to ensure compliance with all current Federal Aviation Administration operational and safety standards. An additional $2 million will be used to replace and renovate parking structure pedestrian bridges connecting to the overseas terminal at the Honolulu airport.

Lawmakers approved $35.7 million for the new Diamond Head Commuter Terminal at Honolulu International Airport. The money will fund construction for the terminal adjacent to Gate 6 at the end of the Diamond Head Concourse.

Other improvements funded include $4.7 million for restroom renovations at Kahului Airport on Maui as well as a new ticket lobby and commuter terminal; and $3.6 million to replace fire sprinkler lines and risers throughout the facility. The Lihue Airport on Kauai will receive $410,000 to conduct an environmental assessment ahead of plans for runway safety area improvements to comply with FAA standards.

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