Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Guam Banks $50 Million for Port Upgrades

A major modernization effort at Guam's commercial port received a sizable boost on Saturday when island officials were notified that the United States Defense Department has transferred $50 million to the Port Authority of Guam.

President Barack Obama approved the Defense Department transfer to the port as part of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, signed into law in early August.

The Act authorized the $50 million transfer to the Port Authority of Guam's Improvement Enterprise Fund, which will be administered by the US Transportation Department's Maritime Administration, or

The Port Authority of Guam has cited the federal funding as critical to kick starting a more than $260 million plan to upgrade the island's commercial port infrastructure needed to meet anticipated increases in cargo from an impending relocation of U.S. military operations on the Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam. The military buildup will see more than 8,000 Marines, their operations and more than 9,000 military dependents shift from Okinawa to Guam by 2014. The buildup is set to begin later this year.
The first phase of the plan is expected to cost just more than $100 million and focus on critical waterfront infrastructure and equipment upgrades at the port.

Several previous efforts by the port authority and island government failed to secure initial funding for the port upgrades.

The PAG also plans to use the $50 million in Defense Department funds to secure an additional $50 million loan for port upgrades from the US Department of Agriculture.