Rota Mayor Melchor Mendiola expressed optimism that there will be a commuter terminal for passengers between the CNMI and Guam.
Mendiola said it will “only be a matter of time” before the Guam Ports Authority provides space for the needed commuter terminal, which is expected to ease inter-island travel in the Marianas.
“We're waiting for that and it will really help us in air transportation,” he said in an interview. At present, Mendiola said, the commuter terminal for passengers from the CNMI going to Guam is integrated with international travelers.
Mendiola cited as an example Guam passengers traveling to Rota. He said that travel time between the two islands is estimated at 20 minutes but the lack of a separate commuter terminal for inter-island passengers forces these travelers to wait for two hours.
“It's unreasonable,” he said. “But if we establish this commuter terminal, then it's only going to be a 30-minute thing. It won't be as prolonged as an international flight.”
Mendiola said the opening of a commuter terminal in Guam has the support of the island's officials and was among the resolutions supported by the Association of the Mariana Islands' Mayors, Vice Mayors, and Elected Municipal Council Members in its November meeting.
The Rota mayor disclosed that he visited Guam over a week ago to meet with AMIM executive director Angel Sablan.
The weekend meeting, said Mendiola, focused on the neighboring island's newly sworn in mayors who are now elected officers of the Mayor's Council of Guam.
The council officers are Agana Heights Mayor Paul McDonald, president; Sinajana Mayor Robert Hofmann, vice president; Agat Mayor Carol Tayama, secretary, Barrigada Mayor June Blas, treasurer; and Hagatna Mayor John Cruz, sergeant-at-arms.
With the new mayors on board, Mendiola said AMIM is likely to call a meeting to elect its own officers in March.