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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsVIPA Unveils State-of-the-Art Transportation Facility at Cyril E. King Airport

VIPA Unveils State-of-the-Art Transportation Facility at Cyril E. King Airport

Honoree, Dale A. Gregory, VIPA’s former Director of Engineering, spoke passionately at the transportation center’s grand opening and dedication ceremony. (Source photo by Nyomi Gumbs)

Tuesday marked a major milestone for residents and visitors alike, as the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) unveiled its newly completed multi-level transportation facility at Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, named in honor of VIPA’s former Director of Engineering, Dale A. Gregory. It will be open to the public beginning Monday, April 22.

The facility boasts a myriad of features aimed at improving both convenience and accessibility for travelers, including 311 paid public parking spaces and nine accessible parking spaces. Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe expressed his pride in the project and the significance of naming it after Gregory.

“For what Dale Gregory meant to this Authority, I believe it was only fitting that this facility that he spent so much time at, and this place that he called his home away from home and gave so much of himself to – that the best thing to do was to name this building, this facility in his honor.” Dowe added, “I couldn’t think of a better person.”

Gregory began his journey with VIPA over 40 years ago, ultimately becoming the director of engineering. Throughout his tenure, he played a pivotal role as the lead engineer and project manager for multiple major capital projects, where his leadership and expertise were instrumental in spearheading the modernization and enhancement of airports and seaports across the territory.

“Today, as we gather to dedicate this transportation center in my name, I’m reminded of the countless individuals who have supported and collaborated with me over the years,” shared Gregory. “This honor is not just mine. It belongs to every person who has been a part of this incredible journey. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Port Authority for this recognition.”

Designed by Kimley-Horn and Associates and constructed by AT Construction Solutions, the new facility includes a dedicated floor for taxis and other ground transportation along with a centralized car rental area that will create a more efficient and streamlined transportation experience for travelers.

“I take delight in seeing continued investment into our tourism product.  Year to date tourism air arrivals are up 28 percent for the territory,” noted USVI Department of Tourism Commissioner Joseph B. Boschulte. “Our best year in air arrivals was 2022, and currently we’re up 15 percent compared to those numbers.”

Funding for the project was made possible through a combination of sources, including a substantial hurricane recovery grant from the US Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration, as well as a local match provided by VIPA.

Emphasizing the collaborative efforts between the federal government and local stakeholders, Linda Cruz-Carnall, regional director of the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted, “In 2019 EDA was proud to provide $20 million towards the construction of this facility. It was our goal to help improve transit access and operational capacity to drive both economic recovery and resilience following the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria.”

Dowe noted that while the project was part of a larger goal to continue modernizing the territory and advancing its infrastructure, VIPA was resolute in its commitment to ensuring local engineers and contractors played a significant role in the project.

Closing out the ceremony, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., offered a few final thoughts, adding, “Change is hard, and progress is even more difficult…we make commitments to fix things as an administration, but if we make a commitment to fix things as a community, there’s nothing we cannot accomplish.”

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