DoD releases $55M promised to Guam Waterworks Authority
Fresh from fending off a party challenge for her Democratic incumbent seat in the House of Representatives, Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo announced yesterday that the Department of Defense awarded $55.3 million to the Guam Waterworks Authority for civilian water and wastewater improvements.
The money authorized in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act and announced last November is part of $106.4 million additional appropriation request which Bordallo sponsored and was approved by Congress. The money is related to water and wastewater improvement projects connected to the realignment of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.
“I am pleased DoD has released funding to GWA for civilian water and wastewater improvement projects that were approved by a provision I sponsored in last year’s defense authorization bill,” Bordallo said in a release announcing the award. “I am working to authorize the remaining funds for civilian infrastructure improvements in this year’s defense authorization bill, which I included in the House bill. I will continue to work with my fellow conferees to ensure that the NDAA provides the DoD with the authority to help address civilian infrastructure needs.”
Bordallo said the release of money signals the continued progress in the transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.
“The funding demonstrates the continued progress we are making to move forward with the buildup in a way that benefits our civilian community,” Bordallo said.
Of the $55.3 million, the bulk of the money, $30.6 million, is directed to be used for an interceptor sewer line replacement project. According to Bordallo’s office, the money will be used for the final planning, design and construction to refurbish the sewer line in northern Guam, which supports Andersen Air Force Base and will support the new Marine Corps base to be constructed along Route 3.
Another $21 million in funding is expected to be utilized by GWA to address the Northern District Water Treatment Plant’s final planning and design, and overall program and construction management services, and installation of diffuser on outfall.
And $3.7 million will be used by GWA to design and construct an improved monitoring system for Guam’s sole source of fresh water aquifer in northern Guam, dubbed the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer Monitoring System Expansion/Rehabilitation Project.
The 2016 NDAA authorized a total of $400 million in DoD spending for civilian and military projects directly related to the buildup. The $106.4 million was previously appropriated but held back for years due to objections in the U.S. Senate led by Sen. John McCain. With Bordallo’s amendment last year, Post files indicate that an additional $20 million was added to the funding to further address water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
The 2016 NDAA also required the Obama administration to develop a presidential policy directive to provide all relevant federal agencies with guidance on how to implement and fund the rebalance strategy, an effort led by Bordallo and others in Congress. Bordallo said the provision will help to ensure adequate funding and resourcing to support the rebalance strategy in future administrations.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration proposed $248.6 million for military construction for Guam in the 2017 Defense Act which passed in the House. The House and Senate are still reconciling their versions of the 2017 NDAA.