Guam – On fears that current and future ARRA, DOD and other federally funded road projects may lead to a ten to thirty percent increase in utility rates, Senator Tony Ada introduced Bill No. 28-31.
Ada notes that “a fluke in current Guam law that defines water and sewer pipes, utility poles and underground and aerial cable as ‘encroachments,’ prevents Guam from using federal highway funds to relocate such infrastructure as the roads are improved.”
It is the rule rather than the exception that in federally funded road projects, a portion of the federal funds are reserved to relocate utilities. After researching the issue, Ada estimates that if public and private utilities are forced to incur these relocation costs, it may result a substantial increase in water, power, telephone, cable and internet bills.
Bill No. 28-31 eliminates the provision in Guam law that requires utilities to pay for the relocation cost of its infrastructure for road construction projects. The change removes all statutory obstacles to using federal funds for such relocation expenses. Senator Ada will seek quick passage of the bill so that local and federal highway planners can include such relocation costs in future road construction plans.