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Buildup Office compiling data for DOI

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Time is ticking away for the U.S. Department of the Interior to submit a report to Congress outlining what's needed for the military buildup to move forward in Guam. Here at home, the Guam Buildup Office is hoping to complete a needs assessment list over the weekend and provide it to the governor who will be in Washington, DC next week. 

Guam Buildup Office Director Eddie Reyes is busy compiling information for the DOI, saying, "Of all the Guam infrastructure related cost that are related either directly or indirectly in support of the military realignment of the marines relocation from Okinawa to Guam." According to the National Defense Authorization Act, signed this past January, DOI was mandated to submit a report to Congress detailing the civilian infrastructure improvements needed for the buildup and potential sources of funding.

"Congress is asking and wants to know what the total cost of the buildup is," Reyes continued. "This is an opportunity for us to identify Guam's needs and have the needs taken into account when the master plan for the buildup is submitted to Congress."

According to Reyes during a recent visit by DOI officials, they apprised him of the report, which by law must include input from GovGuam.  Reyes says he's currently compiling the information and speaking with GovGuam agency heads to ensure no-need is overlooked. "They're in the best position to tell us what there needs are in anticipation of the increase in population and the people that we have to serve," he added.

Take for example the Department of Education, who noted they will need an additional four new schools. For the Guam Police Department, Reyes says there will definitely be a need for more police presence, in particular in the north, to handle the increase in island population the buildup will bring. "They are anticipating the need for a new Yigo Precinct, they are looking at an augmentation of their motor vehicle fleet because the increase in population is going to require an increase of police officers which will require an increase in equipment to support the needs," he said.

Likewise for the Guam International Airport Authority improvements and new infrastructure is needed to accommodate an alternate landing area for the military. "Coming with that there are military specifications with respect to how the runway is suppose to be designed so the major upgrade at the airport will be to meet those military specifications," said Reyes.

For now, according to Reyes, it's really too early to tell what all will be included in his report to DOI and just how much it will all cost. "It's going to be a pretty good amount that would be comparable as far as when you look at the overall context of the buildup, although when you are talking about a $15 billion program and a good percentage is related to the military buildup, we are hoping the federal government will be receptive the projects that we've identified that we have identified as a direct link to the Guam buildup," he said.

Reyes is hoping to finalize the report this weekend so that it can be sent to Governor Eddie Calvo, who is heading to Washington, DC. According to the federal law, DOI must submit the report to Congress by July 7.

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