Aumua Announces Grant Award of Over $9.5 Million for Infrastructure & Maintenance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Aumua Amata,  was pleased to announce the release of more than $9.5 million in grant funding to American Samoa through the Office of Insular Affairs’ (OIA) Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Program.

“These grant funds are essential to making sure our infrastructure is sound, and I am pleased to make this announcement,” said Amata.  “It is a never ending fight to make sure that our islands are being put on equal footing as the states and other territories, but I am thankful to have colleagues in the Department of the Interior who work closely with me to ensure that is the case,” continued the Congresswoman.

Specifically, the grant funds will be used for the following projects:

Tug Boats – $1,750,000 for the overhaul of hull and machinery on two of three tug boats belonging to the Department of Port Administration which serve the Pago Pago Harbor.  The tugboats are vital to serving the long liners, cruise liners and other vessels arriving in the territory.  This project complements prior-year funding for repairs to the shipyard and dry-docking services at Satala and complies with Coast Guard safety recommendations, while also extending life expectancy of the vessels.

Ofu Wharf – $200,000 to design improvements to the Ofu Wharf to properly accommodate the M/V Sili and the new ferry boat that is currently under construction.  The Ofu Wharf is the only wharf that serves both Ofu and Olosega islands and requires improvements to enhance its capacity to service larger vessels; upgrade docking and transferring of essential cargo and vehicles; and provide it with greater sources of electrical power, lighting and water. 

Service Wharf – $40,000 to supplement OIA grant funding that has already been awarded for the construction and rehabilitation of a new service wharf in Pago Pago Harbor. The total cost for this project is $8.8 million. 

Port Drainage Improvements – $40,000 to fix drainage problems at the Pago Pago Port container yard where rain runoff is ponding and greatly affecting stevedoring port operations and facilities.  The improvements will allow for safer port operations and satisfy both U.S. EPA and American Samoa EPA requirements to avoid adverse runoff effects on the coastal environment.

FAA Matching Funds – $350,000 to provide the required local match for federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for airport improvements and maintenance.  The FAA awards American Samoa between $9 – 11 million per year for continued improvements to the airports.

School Buses – $600,000 to acquire up to six new school buses to alleviate current overloading; improve scheduling of maintenance; and provide safer transportation for students.

Samoana High School – $1,204,700 for the construction of a new two-story building with ten classrooms, customized band room, and applied tech workshop area. The proposed building will be a concrete structure with a total floor area of 13,300 square feet.

Aua Elementary School – $300,000 for the construction of a pre-fabricated metal building to serve as a covered recreational area and assembly area for students.  The scope of work includes demolition of deteriorated existing “Fale” classroom building and additional perimeter fencing with retaining wall along stream at back of school, landscaping and other related work.  The total square footage of the new building will be 8,352.

Insular ABC’s Initiative – $1,000,000 to implement maintenance and repairs to public schools as established in a Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and American Samoa to address critical structural repairs affecting health and safety. The same amount was awarded last year and is scheduled to be awarded in fiscal year 2017.

LBJ Tropical Medical Center Labor, Delivery, and Operating Room – $1,700,000 for the renovation of the existing Labor, Delivery, and Operating Room Suite to meet health and life safety standards as required by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The total project is estimated to cost $14 million, $7.2 million of which DOI is funding in phases over multiple years through FY2017.

Microfiltration Plant – $250,000 for the purchase of microfiltration equipment for the American Samoa Power Authority to return the plant to full operation.  The proposed water improvements meet three phases identified in the American Samoa CIP Five Year Plan to improve water distribution through fire hydrants; meet the growing demands of the public with additional water resources; and prevent contamination of water source used by the public.

Heavy Equipment – $500,000 for the purchase of a backhoe, two dump trucks, and a sweeper to provide road maintenance by the Department of Public Works.

Disaster Matching Funds – $1,000,000 to the Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management to provide a local match to federal funding received under FEMA’s Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Program.

CIP Administrative Office – $95,050 to support the operations of the CIP Administrative Office.  The CIP office works closely with the Governor, the Local OIA field office, and the American Samoa Departments and Agencies to ensure increased project progress with all awarded projects.

Maintenance Set-Aside – $475,250 for the implementation of a long-term preventative maintenance program for all CIP-funded infrastructure projects in American Samoa.  This meets the required 5% set-aside required for CIP grants to the territory.

“I want to thank Governor Lolo and his administration for prioritizing these much needed projects, and I also want to thankAssistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina and her office for awarding these essential funds for our islands, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in the future to ensure that American Samoa is receiving the same assistance as our counterparts and the states.  I also want to thank her for assisting my office to ease cabotage regulations between Tutuila and Manu’a.   My bill, which is included in Senator Murkowski’s legislation, the Omnibus Territories Act has already passed through the Senate committee, and I look forward to seeing it move quickly through Congress, and signed into law by President Obama,” concluded the Congresswoman.

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