Mayors seek more funding for road repairs in villages

Merizo Mayor Ernest Chargualaf (PNC file photo)

Guam mayors were on hand to deliver their message to senators loud and clear: “We need more funding for road repairs in villages.”

The mayors were testifying this morning at a public hearing over a bill proposing a $2 million allocation for roads resurfacing and repair projects.

Motorist and pedestrian safety were among their many concerns along with the high cost of repairing vehicles damaged by potholes.

Merizo Mayor Ernest Chargualaf says many of the road repairs are just band-aid solutions that fall apart within a matter of months.

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“You cannot call this an accident waiting to happen. An accident is something that’s unforeseen, something that’s not predictable. This is predictable. So this isn’t an accident waiting to happen … it’s an accident that will happen,” Chargualaf said.

The director of the Department of Public Works was at the hearing and says they’re always working with mayors to get through a massive list of priority roads but funding is a constant issue.

Mayor Jessy Gogue of Chalan Pago-Ordot says constituents call him daily asking why a basic need like properly paved roads is not being met.

He says without DPW’s resources, there’s not much he can do.

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“Because we rely on them to bring out the coal on roads that haven’t been paved. We rely on them to compact the coal that they bring out on roads that are not paved. And, we rely on them to maintain those roads because we, the mayors, don’t have the compactors, we don’t have the dump trucks, and we don’t have the backhoes to do it ourselves,” Chargualaf said.

In addition to funding challenges, DPW says they’re also competing for a limited number of contractors on the island who are often lured into projects on the base that have more hefty payouts.

The $2 million in question is being appropriated from the excess revenue from fiscal 2019. But Adelup still insists that $23 million is not available and should go towards paying down Guam’s debt.