Saturday, April 10, 2010

Obama Waiting for $50 Million Approval for Guam's Port

Waiting for approval: Obama asks Pelosi's authority to shift $50M for Port
By Dionesis Tamondong
Pacific Daily News
April 9, 2010

Obama this week sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asking for the authority to shift up to $50 million in his administration's budget request next fiscal year for critical improvements to the Port Authority of Guam.

"Modernization of the port is a critical prerequisite for the military construction program supporting the realignment of U.S. Marine Corps forces from Japan to Guam, a part of the overall U.S. strategy for military forces in the Pacific region," Obama said in the April 5 letter.

If approved, the Department of Defense will transfer funds to the Department of Transportation to finance the port improvements.

The letter from Obama, who has scheduled a Guam visit in June, was made after Guam officials questioned the federal government's intent to help GovGuam pay for the cost of hosting a much larger military presence.

The port had applied for an economic stimulus grant of almost $50 million through the Transportation Department, but that wasn't approved.

The port has plans for about $200 million worth of upgrades, with a large bulk of the funding from federal grants and loans.

Without those facility improvements, the port can become a chokepoint in the delivery of construction materials and commercial cargo throughout the region.

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