Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that Senator Inouye has agreed to work with him to set aside $7 million in the FY2008 Interior Appropriations bill to meet some of the critical needs for the Manu’a District and Aunu’u Island.
In brief, Faleomavaega and Senator Inouye are working on the following projects in order of importance:
- 1. $1 million for a landing craft to assist with the transportation and shipment of cargo and heavy equipment to Manu’a
Based upon the recommendation from President Lolo and other leaders of Manu’a, Faleomavaega and Senator Inouye are requesting $1 million for a landing craft to assist with the transportation and shipment of cargo and heavy equipment to Manu’a. This landing craft will also have the capability to carry 20 passengers, although the M/V Sili is also capable of carrying about 150 passengers as well as containers and goods for the people of Manu’a. “Again, our people need to be reminded that it is because that ASG has failed to dredge the Ofu harbor that the M/V Sili could not enter the harbor safely, and not because the vessel was considered too big in size,” Faleomavaega said.
- $1 million for a ferry for the people of Aunu’u
“For so many years now, even from the time of Senator Lemafa when he served in the legislature, the people of Aunu’u have requested reliable transportation,” the Congressman continued. “Since the Coast Guard is conducting a strict policy of compliance to marine safety and travel between the islands, I believe this ferry will provide a better means of surface transportation for our residents in Aunu’u especially for our high school students and adults who work for the canneries and for the government. This ferry will safely transport passengers from Aunu’u directly to Pago Pago and back to Aunu’u.”
- $1 million to improve water systems in the villages of Olosega and Ofu
This proposal is based upon consultations with ASPA officials who agree that Olosega and Ofu stand in critical need of a water system that will serve both villages.
- $1 million to improve water systems for the villages of Ta’u and Faleasao
This proposal is also in consultation with the ASPA officials who are responsible to provide for a more adequate water system for these two villages.
- $500,000 to renovate and upgrade power plants on the islands of Ta’u and Ofu
This proposal is based upon consultations with officials of ASPA.
- $1 million for the establishment of medical dispensaries for Ta’u and Ofu
For years, the islands of Ofu and Ta’u have been without any medical facilities. It is time for dispensaries to be built and used by visiting doctors and nurses who provide medical care for the people of Manu’a.
- $500,000 to renovate Manu’a Elementary school bathrooms
Too often, the Manu’a elementary schools have to close due to the poor condition of the bathrooms as a result of inadequate water supplies, and for other reasons. This is unacceptable. “Our elementary students deserve better than this and I am committed to making sure they have adequate bathrooms,” Faleomavaega said.
- $500,000 for Manu’a High School gym renovations
On my recent visit to Manu’a, I saw the condition of the gym. It was deplorable and a good portion of the roof is about to fall apart. The gym has also been a valuable facility not only for the needs of the school, but for the community as well, and it needs to be renovated.
- $500,000 for the construction of Administration buildings for Ofu and Ta’u
This is another example of Manua’s needs. There are no facilities whereby those administering the affairs of these islands can set up an office to properly coordinate their programs and activities. “I believe the construction of two administration buildings at the cost of $250,000 each in the airport areas at Ofu and Ta’u will provide better streamlining of operations between Manu’a and Tutuila,” Faleomavaega said.
“It is important to note that these requests are not for new money but a set aside of the $10 million in CIP funds already allocated and mandated by the President’s budget,” Faleomavaega said. “Despite reports to the contrary from the Department of the Interior, for the past decade or more, American Samoa’s CIP funds have never been earmarked, or set aside, in the President’s budget until this year when the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) determined to earmark $3 million for fiber optics.”
“In support of earmarking CIP funds in the President’s budget, Senator Inouye and I are also working together to set aside CIP funding to address critical needs especially for Manu’a and Aunu’u. Regarding ASG’s operations grant of $23 million, I have chosen not to set aside any of this money. ASG has my full support in determining how our operations grant of $23 million should be spent.”
“In conclusion, I want to be very clear about these proposed projects and funding. Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to passage of legislation but I am cautiously confident that Senator Inouye and I will hopefully get some of these projects approved,” Faleomavaega concluded.