Congressman Faleomavaega and Governor Togiola announced today that they have purchased a $4 million vessel for Manu’a and papers were signed today in the Congressman’s Washington office.
“I want to thank Governor Togiola for his tireless support. Without his commitment to this project, this would not have been possible,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “I also want to thank Senator John Breaux from Louisiana for connecting us to one of the world’s best shipping yards which is now refurbishing a vessel which will carry passengers and cargo between the islands of Manu’a and Tutuila.”
“Funding for this project was obtained through the Tax Act of 2003. In May of last year, I worked with Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate to include American Samoa in the Tax Act of 2003 and, as a result of this effort, American Samoa received an additional $10 million in fiscal relief.”
“On May 29, 2003, I wrote to Governor Togiola and requested his support in setting aside $5 million of this funding for a vessel for Manu’a. The Governor agreed that the people of Manu’a deserve a vessel that is safe and modern and reliable and this is why the Governor and I have been tirelessly working to get the best possible vessel we could for Manu’a.”
“As a matter of record, from FY 1995- 2001, American Samoa received more than a billion dollars in federal aid and about 75% of these funds went directly to ASG. Although none of these funds were used for the purchase of a ferry, I am pleased that Governor Togiola has made this one of his highest priorities and worked with me to provide the Manu’a district with a reliable vessel to transport cargo and passengers.”
“After months of negotiation and site visits to Louisiana, we have now finalized our arrangements and will purchase the vessel for $4 million,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “At this time, we are hopeful that the vessel will arrive in American Samoa in time for Manua’s 100 year anniversary of its association with the United States.”
“Again, I want to thank Governor Togiola and Senator John Breaux. I also want to thank Lieutenant Governor Aitofele Sunia, our Port Director, Seugogo H.B. Schirmer, Wally Thompson and Henry Kappel. As a result of the Governor’s support, each traveled with me to Louisiana on at least one occasion and some more than once, including last weekend where we finalized our arrangements with Tidewater.”
“I want to thank our friends at Tidewater for hosting us in Louisiana and for working to make sure that our vessel is outfitted to meet our needs. I also want to thank everyone involved in today’s signing ceremony.”
“Today’s signing was a culmination of months of hard work and dedication on the part of many and I thank everyone involved for making this possible for the people of Manu’a. The Governor and I continue to extend our best wishes to the people of Manu’a and we are hopeful that our newly purchased vessel will be a blessing and a benefit for years to come,” the Congressman concluded.