Tiyan residents asking for Salas' resignation a bit early - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Tiyan residents asking for Salas' resignation a bit early

by John Davis

Guam - Tiyan residents are up in arms asking for GIAA Executive General Manager Carlos Salas' resignation because they feel he's bending over backwards for the Federal aviation Administration and not fighting for rights to use Tiyan property in an effort to continue to provide water and access from Route 8 to 10-A.  Let's take a look at the road and water line issues, some of the residents concerns and try to come up with a solution that will benefit GIAA, the FAA and Tiyan residents.

The reason it seems Salas is acting without a spine is a direct result of the heavy handedness of the FAA.  As previously reported by KUAM's Mindy Agoun, the Guam international airpAguonuthority is at risk of losing federal funding due to a lack of compliance with federal aviation administration guidelines, but those same guidelines can result in solutions for residents standing to lose water service in Tiyan and Barrigada.  As it turns out, FAA guidelines could also keep the Tiyan access road open and water running for Tiyan residents.

The Tiyan parkway was originally to be closed off to public access.  At first, FAA officials stated the existing road was a security violation and had to be closed down completely.  The only vehicles allowed to motor along this area would be those related to GIAA operations.  The FAA also wants the new Tiyan Parkway to be closed to the public because it is allegedly in the airport protection zone.  However; the Department of Public Works and GIAA are working together to ensure there is access to public motorists because DPW and its consultant, PB Americas  believe the proposed placement of the Tiyan parkway is located outside of the Airport Protection Zone and are projecting the road will be open to the public upon its completion.

Now for the water issue.  It's bad enough that a 50 year old water line is serving Tiyan residents and nothing has been done by PUAG or even GWA to upgrade these pipes.  In fact, I believe it was the airport that allowed GWA to tap into existing GIAA waterlines so GWA to solve water woes plaguing the village of Barrigada several years ago.  This agreement between GIAA and GWA to use GIAA infrastructure to serve Barrigada and Tiyan residents is not up in limbo due to another safety and federal funding issue. 

The $16 million concern the FAA has is the feds provided funding to GIAA for GIAA to construct their own water system, separate and apart from GWA's water system. The FAA only approved this new water system to serve airport purposes, which is exactly why Tiyan residents could be left with dry taps.  If GIAA were to allow Tiyan residents to tap in to the multi-million dollar waterline, it would pose serious compliance issues with FAA guidelines.  The existing water line is over 50 years old and the fact that it lies underneath the runway raises aviation safety concerns for GIAA and the FAA.

Understanding these concerns were basically raised by the FAA because GIAA lost sight of the development of the airport, how do we create a win-win situation for GIAA, the FAA and Tiyan residents?  We'll lets use the FAA language against the FAA, hoping to benefit GIAA and Tiyan residents.

In the FAA letter to GIAA dated July 17, 2009, Regional Administrator, William Withycombe said "airport purposes" are defined as uses of the property directly related to the actual operation of the airport, foreseeable development of the airport, or for producing revenue for the airport.  I have an idea that could generate revenue for the airport and provide much needed water service to Tiyan residents.

Instead of GWA being required to install new waterlines separate and apart from the 16 million dollar GIAA water system, why not allow GWA to purchase water from GIAA to service Tiyan residents?  GWA could reduce cost of Fena water by purchasing the amount needed to service Tiyan residents from the airport. 

After purchasing water from the airport, GWA could install a bypass waterline or a pump station off airport property and re-route water purchased from GIAA into Tiyan for Tiyan residents and Barrigada for residents already suffering from low to no water pressure in the main part of the village as well as upper and lower Barrigada Heights.  This approach will also generate revenue for the airport because GWA would be paying for it and passing the billing on to ratepayers island-wide.

According to airport officials, discussions are underway to ensure water service to Tiyan residents will not be disrupted.  According to those same officials, discussion is also underway to ensure the new Tiyan Parkway, once constructed remains a public access road. 

We need to ensure Mr. Salas that it's a bit premature to ask for his resignation, now that Tiyan residents have his attention, I'm sure he'll get the ball rolling in the right direction with proper communication and negotiation with the FAA.  Where there is a will there is a way, but the people sitting at the table must negotiate for the benefit of all people and be willing to go all the way.

The views and opinions expressed in KUAM Columns do not necessarily reflect those of Pacific Telestations, Inc. or its advertisers

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