Guam – JGPO Executive Director Joseph Ludovici spoke to PNC News Friday about some of the major challenges he will face when trying to complete the Guam military buildup. For example Guam’s infrastructure, the programmatic agreement and the acquisition of land such as rt. 15 and the Pagat area.
JGPO Executive Director Joseph Ludovici is a 25 year veteran of the navy and was also the commanding officer on Guam for the navy’s PWUC (now known as NAVFAC) from 2000-2003. So he’s no stranger to the island’s inadequate infrastructure and the challenges it poses to the military buildup.
Japan has pledged to pay 740 million dollars to improve Guam’s infrastructure. Ludovici says this will be done through some sort of loan to the government of Guam through some form of SPE or Special Purpose Entity.
PNC asked “How will that affect local ratepayers?” Ludovici responded saying, “It should not affect the local ratepayers if the system has… now this is CCU… I don’t wanna get too far ahead of Mr. Sanchez and the water authorities or what the Navy’s finance guys are working with GPA but if there’s an additional – conceptually here – if there’s and additional cost for the loan from Japan to support the marine relocation to provide the service to the military you would think the military would repay those loans there’d be, they’d provide that service because the existing rate is, this for the current users and now we add this cost to support the military and you would think the military customers would pay that additional cost but I’m just talking about, in concept, and I’m not in those specific financial discussions.”
While they are still finalizing a lot of the details Ludovici says they have agreed upon what the money will pay for. “We have an agreement in principal on what the scope of the $740 million will cover in terms of the power system the combustion turbines the transmission lines the waste water the northern district plant and the Hagatna plant and some transmission lines and the water system,” said Ludovici.
The head of JGPO hopes to break ground on some of these projects over the next 12 months. In fact in the next month or month and a half he says the Japanese government will send it’s budget to the ministry of finance. This budget should include at least some of the promised funding for Guam.
Infrastructure isn’t the only hurdle for Ludovici, he’s also going to have to deal with the lawsuit filed against dod for selecting rt. 15 and pagat as a firing range complex. Yesterday he told lawmakers that it’s difficult to get funding from congress without having finalized where the marines will do their training. “When we did our budget for eleven (2011) they’re saying we’re not sure you’re going to be able to execute that project for a number of reasons. The utilities capacity may not allow it to bring the workers you may not have the land yet so what if you can’t get the land for training are we still going to move the marines there? A number of issues they’re looking at so because of the lawsuit I don’t predict what the impact will be because that’s not the only reason why some of the concerns that were causing them to withhold the money.”
One thing that can withhold money and construction is the unsigned programmatic agreement. We asked, “Is an unsigned programmatic agreement is that slowing or delaying any construction?” Ludovici replied saying, “Yeah it will. I think we will have to hold off until we resolve that on some construction because of the way I’m not a lawyer I don’t understand the full American council or the National Historic Preservation act but I believe there are some limitations of what you can do until you complete that process either programmatic or complete the consultations as a part of the process so yes there will be an impact from that.” Ludovici says he will focus his efforts this year on solving the problems with infrastructure, land for training, and the programmatic agreement.