Governor Lou Leon Guerrero is back from her trip to Washington where one of her goals was to find sources of funding to repair or build a new public hospital.
She told the Pacific News Center today that while she still favors building the facility, the price tag could be as high as $737 million.
“For a new hospital, they’re looking in the range of $737 million,” the governor said.
That is just a preliminary number, said the governor. The final cost to build a new public hospital awaits the report from the Army Corps of Engineers which is due next month.
The biggest issue is finding the money.
“When I was in D.C., you know, I was looking at opportunities for financing. It could be grants and borrowing. Or borrowing or grants alone. I’m working with GEDA to come up with some financial options,” the governor said.
The Governor also said she met with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy while she was in Washington to discuss the return of some excess federal land on Guam in order to build a new hospital. She said he was receptive to the idea. No location was confirmed.
But before a new hospital can be built, the current hospital is badly in need of immediate repairs.
Yesterday, the governor allowed Sen. Therese Terlaje’s bill appropriating $10 million to GMH to lapse into law, even though she acknowledged that GovGuam does not now have $10 million to spare.
“I don’t have $10 million to put in there. I know that the senator was looking at un-appropriated monies, but all the monies are appropriated, even those that are collected beyond the budgeted revenues, those are for to retire our deficit,” the governor said.
Still, the governor said she is committed to finding the funds needed now for GMH.
“If the hospital needs its roof to be fixed, we will find the money to fix the roof. If it needs HVAC, I do have some money from DOI that they gave me to use to fix their HVAC. So I am assuring the people of Guam that whatever we need to do to make our hospital whole, we are going to make that a priority,” the governor said.