GEDA: Buildup Impacts Will Exceed Benefits
Guam - Last week the Guam Economic Development Authority released some of it's findings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the military buildup.
The bottom line according to GEDA is that the economic impacts will exceed the economic benefits unless mitigation measures are identified and included in the Final EIS.
During Governor Bordallo's administration Joseph Bradley was the Chief Economist for GovGuam. Recently he's given presentations to the civilian military task force on the economic portion of the Draft Environmental impact statement. He's come to some of the same conclusions that the Guam Economic Development Agency has reached. For example concerns that the economic impacts will outweigh the economic benefits. Many in the local business community have touted the boost that servicemen and women will have on the economy. The DEIS however states that only 12% of military payroll will be spent in the local economy. Bradley says "I don't think that Tumon is exactly what a sailor on shore leave is looking for anyway." Instead Bradley believes many of the servicemen and women will be craving the forms of food and entertainment that they are used to in the states. While Tumon offers some of this Tumon was developed with the Japanese tourist in mind.
Bradley says one way to mitigate this is for local businessemen to begin creating attractions and entertainment that servicemen will want to go to. Another concern of GEDA's is that according to the DEIS after the population decreases the island of Guam will have an excess or oversupply of housing. Bradley says this could mean abandoned houses and even commercial buildings that is unless we find a way to mitigate these potential negative impacts. Bradley has some of his own ideas for example he says GovGuam could work with the federal governement to develop programs to convert excess housing into affordable or low cost governement housing.
Finally there is the recession like period that will occur according to the DEIS after the buildup ends and the population diminishes. The boom itself will be three times larger than the tourism boom of the 80's. While bradley says that the recession will still be better than Guam's current economy it's how fast and how steep the economy recedes which is what will really cause problems.
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