Legislature passes airport bond refinancing bill

Legislature voted to pass the airport refinancing bill. (Still image from the Guam Legislature's YouTube channel)

The Legislature voted to pass Bill 429, the airport’s revenue bond refinancing bill.

The legislation received a vote of 14 ayes – 1 nay. Only Sen. Therese Terlaje opposed the bill.

The Legislature tackled the refinancing bill Wednesday afternoon and it was placed on the third reading file for voting.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero had asked the Legislature to convene the special session to tackle Bill 429.

In her letter to Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes, the governor said the refinancing of the airport’s outstanding revenue bonds is needed so that it may achieve debt service reductions beginning fiscal year 2021.

During the special session, Airport Deputy General Manager Artemio ‘Ricky’ Hernandez said the airport is having difficulty meeting its projected revenues for fiscal year 21 and there are a lot of revenue uncertainties this fiscal year and the next.

The key here, he said, is that the airport is trying to refinance its debt with lower interest rates and essentially they are just trying to fill the revenue gap.

GIAA has experienced a significant reduction in airport revenues, with an approximate $30 million loss in FY 2020 and an uncertain future in FY 2021.

GIAA says it has reduced airport operational expenses by almost 20 percent in FY 2020 and continues this reduction in FY 2021 while continuing to improve upon its ability to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 through its operations.