Governor Will Not Declare Emergency Over School Bus Crisis; Solution Lies With Legislature

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Guam – Governor’s Spokesman Shawn Gumataotao says an Emergency Declaration is not the solution to the school bus crisis.

When asked by PNC News how the Governor would respond to Senator Tom Ada’s request for an Emergency Declaration over the issue which has seen up to 2 hours delays,  Gumataotao responded, “We are currently working through the situation as it is. Will an emergency bring about the change they are looking for? It does not,” he said.

An emergency declaration he said would “only provide temporary relief. Asking the administration to speed things up … that is what we are already doing,” said Gumataotao. 

And, referring to the legislature he said, “We need them to also offer up a solution.”

Gumataotao defended the Governor’s efforts in helping to find a solution to the crisis, saying  “the Office Governor has worked to ensure that funding is available … and to ensure that parts and materials have been ordered by GSA.”  Adding that the administration “is working closely with DPW to ensure that once those items are in, they will put on those buses.”

Gumataotao also pointed out that “the Camacho Administration has purchased 69 buses to augment an aging fleet, and we are going to look at adding more.” But, he said “the fact remains … the permanent fix for the current bus situation … lies with the legislature.”

“We feel quiet frankly that the long term fix that is necessary will need to come from the legislature.”

“We would encourage Senator Ada and his colleagues to look at this situation very seriously and they need to help also bring a solution to the table.”

Senator Ada responded by saying “I thought we had done that by requesting an emergency declaration?”

The Senator said “the kind of solution that the Governor’s aide is suggesting may take a year.  We need immediate relief.  In my mind it was clear that the solutions we proposed would provide that relief. We need to get the repair parts and outsource the repairs and contract buses from the private sector to augment the current fleet and those are my immediate solutions.”

Senator Ada, who Chairs the Legislature’s Public Works Committee, has called for yet another Oversight Hearing next Wednesday September 8th at 6pm to once again address the school bus shortage. It will be the third Oversight hearing within two weeks.

He said “We will continue to have followup hearing until a solution is reached.”