DPW chief talks about school bus driver shortage and digital speed limit signs

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DPW director Vince Arriola presents his department's FY2022 budget to the Legislature. (PNC photo)

The Department of Public Works on Tuesday presented to the Legislature its new budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

DPW Director Vincent Arriola said that for the next fiscal year, they are requesting a budget of $17.4 million.

DPW has been funded by the Territorial Educational Facilities Fund, also known as the TEFF and the Guam Highway Fund, also known as the GHF.

Arriola says that for 2022, in terms of bus operations, the budget will be fully funded by TEFF whereas all other divisions such as admissions, highway, and capital improvement projects will be funded by the GHF.

The budget request is a reduction of $837,580 from DPW’s 2021 budget.

Arriola states that in terms of operational needs, although maybe lower than the last fiscal year, their FY 2022 budget request should be sufficient to handle the mandates that DPW has.

“We understand the reduction in our budget may be due to the effect COVID-19 pandemic has had on our economy. We will work to utilize all funding sources available to the agency for FY2022, just as we performed at the height of the pandemic. Other operational costs include the need to purchase supplies and equipment, maintenance, roads, and pothole repairs,” Arriola said.

He further says that the main concern is personnel — how to keep the staffing levels of bus drivers well maintained, saying that by the end of the fiscal year, DPW should have an adequate amount of bus driver staffing.

One of the key updates that DPW plans to do in the foreseeable future is the introduction of digital speed limit signs.

“In our efforts to curtail speeding and imprudent driving, through the same funding, we are procuring 2 digital speed limit signs. That will be used on the major roadways on Guam. These large digital signs will monitor vehicle speed as it passes through a given road or highway. This is known to be very effective, it informs the drivers what their speed is and hopefully brings it down to a safe speed limit,” Arriola said.

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Born and raised on the island of Saipan, Don moved to Guam in the Spring of 2016 to pursue higher education at the University of Guam. It was at UOG that Don discovered his passion for keeping his peers politically informed. Prior to joining PNC Don gained professional and life experience through a variety of odd jobs ranging from an administrative assistant to a bouncer to a luxury retail salesman. In his free time, you can find him flying his drone or doing landscape and portrait photography. Don joined the PNC News Team not only to broaden his writing skill but also to challenge himself to get in front of the camera, ultimately furthering his passion to promote an informed and politically engaged Mariånas. Don's beat is Court, Crime, and Regional and is also PNC's Lead Reporter.