Port hopes to move ahead with $10M loan for service life extensi - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Port hopes to move ahead with $10M loan for service life extension

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's been months since legislation was signed into law set to pave the way for a $10 million loan to shore up the Port Authority of Guam's waterfront properties. And as the completion of the agency's modernization efforts draw near, one project in particular still waits final approval.

By this time next year, the Port Authority of Guam is looking at the completion of its modernization efforts down in Piti. Come tomorrow however, a special meeting is planned set to discuss the status of the port's service life extension loan - a $10 million loan with the Bank of Guam to be exact to be used to make improvements to the Port's F-5 Wharf and other critically needed projects. "Primarily the key remaining issue that is needed is the approval of the Public Utilities Commission to address the interim rate of 5.6% so that we can fund repayment back on the loan," explained port general manager Joanne Brown.

She says she hoped the matter would have been addressed sometime last year but has yet to happen, noting, "And I understand that in order to finalize and execute this loan, we have to ensure the funding source is there to pay it and certainly the approval of the PUC is very critical to that process."

It was in June last year when legislation was signed into law paving the language for the loan with The Bank of Guam. Of the $10 million loan, 6.5% would go directly for the service life extension with $2.5 million for a financial management system and $1 million for cargo handling equipment. Brown adds the Port is on track of where it needs to be in regards to its obligations and its best to finally move this project forward. But why is this project so important?

Brown says it's because 90% of all commodities that come into Guam go through the Port. "And it's critical that we be able to address the maintenance of this facility to ensure that we can continue to be the point of entry for all these goods coming into the island, and so much of what we do is dependent on the operations here - more the reasons these improvements are needed and the public should have some sense of comfort that these projects are moving forward," she said.

"Along with the service life extension loan update, the Guam Federal of Teachers' union contract is also up for the discussion. The special board meeting is set for Friday at 11 o'clock in the morning.

The next PUC meeting is set for January 30, however no agenda has been set yet.

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