The following is the text of a press release issued Oct. 22 by the U.S. Maritime Administration:
(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda and Navy Rear Admiral Paul J. Bushong today presented a $50 million Defense Department check to Guam Acting Governor Michael W. Cruz, MD as federal and U.S. Territory officials joined at the Jose D. Leon Guerrero Commercial Port to officially break ground on the new Port of Guam Modernization Project.
â€œThe rebirth of this vital shipping port is long overdue,â€ said Administrator Matsuda. â€œThe federal dollars we are providing today to develop a world-class facility will create jobs, benefit the residents of Guam, and ultimately all of America as well.â€
The seaport is a vital asset to the economy of Guam and to the national security of the United States. The portâ€™s facilities have remained largely unchanged since its creation in the late 1960s. Old facilities and outdated equipment hinder the portâ€™s overall capability and pose serious obstacles to efficient cargo operations.
The modernization project will ensure Guamâ€™s only commercial port is well prepared to accommodate the rapid expansion expected to occur over the next decade, including the pending influx of approximately 20,000 U.S. Marines and their families being relocated to Guam from Okinawa.
Under a partnership established in 2008, the Maritime Administration is providing federal oversight and coordination of the project and acting as a central procurement organization. The FY 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act authorized the Department of Defense to transfer $50 million to the Port of Guam Improvement Enterprise Fund. The overall cost is estimated at $200 million for all phases of this project with the initial work scheduled for completion in time to meet redeployment of troops from Okinawa to Guam.