Senators seek GARVEE bond for road repair funding

Guam can get as much as $120 million in funding to go towards road repairs islandwide.

With the potential for Guam to yield as much as $120 million in funding to go towards road repairs islandwide, senators Joe S. San Agustin and Clynt Ridgell wrote to Melanie Mendiola, administrator of the Guam Economic Development Authority, requesting her assistance to engage the USDA Community Facilities Program in search of opportunities to build capacity for island road repairs and to further discuss the authorization for the Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEE) Bond.

“We all know that Guam’s road conditions are terrible and we often must purchase new tires or spend more on vehicle repairs due to the condition of our roads. Because of this, I have written to GEDA asking for their support in determining the feasibility of Guam’s participation in the USDA Community Facilities Program where we will dedicate a small portion of Federal Highway Funds and local Guam Territorial Highway Funds, as security against a lower interest loan that may benefit Guam close to $120 million,” Sen. San Agustin stated.

The GARVEE was authorized in 2013, through Public Law 31-233 and would allow the Government of Guam to seek financing, however, none to date has been achieved. This may be due to the concerns of the lack of long-term reauthorization of the program and that the highway trust fund has been generating less revenue than it has been spending as the funding is driven by gas tax that fluctuates with the economy. Several proposed actions were proffered in the letter to achieve financing of approximately $75 million for shovel-ready projects.

We will look to securitize about $3.3 million annually, from the Territorial Highway Fund for 20 years at a 3% interest rate that could yield up to $45 million for secondary and tertiary road repairs and paving equipment.

“Roads are a critical part of both the physical and economic infrastructure of our island. They allow goods to be transported, they allow tourists to travel throughout the island, they allow kids to go to school and they allow residents to commute to and from their place of work. An investment in our roads is an investment in critical infrastructure, an investment in our economy, and perhaps most importantly an investment in the quality of life of the people of Guam,” said Senator Ridgell.

“While there is much to do in preparing for this, I look forward to hearing from GEDA on what we can do to help fix our roads and alleviate the burdens of excessive vehicle and tire repairs for our residents,” Sen. San Agustin added. (press release)