Tuesday, June 8, 2010

$400 Million Guam Port Upgrade Contract Awarded

The US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, or MARAD, has awarded Maryland-based engineering firm EA Engineering, Science and Technology Inc., a seven-year, $400 million contract to modernize the commercial port of Guam.

Under the terms of the contract, EA will oversee and with its partners, conduct all work required under the Port Authority of Guam-adopted 2008 modernization plan.

"The timely completion of this major infrastructure improvement program is necessary to provide modern and efficient transportation access to the island of Guam, and to meet the Department of Defense requirements for the Guam buildup," said EA officials in a statement.

The PAG modernization plan is part of an effort by the island to prepare for the transfer of about 8,000 Marines and 9,000 from Okinawa, Japan to Guam by 2014. Nearly 75 percent of the modernization plan's called-for $207 million in port improvement projects are directly related to meeting the requirements of the military buildup on the island.

The PAG is still trying to find funds to begin the modernization program. Earlier this year, the port was denied $50 million in recovery funds by the United States Department of Transportation – funds that would have been used by PAG to obtain an additional $49 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The PAG is now hoping to receive $50 million from the US Department of Defense to begin work on the modernization program – a move encouraged by a recent letter from President Barack Obama to members of Congress requesting support of the funding.
PAG officials said they believe that the awarding of the EA contract by MARAD signals a commitment from the federal government to move forward on the modernization program.

Exact terms of the EA contract were not immediately released and MARAD and PAG officials plan to meet Wednesday on Guam to discuss preliminary details.