‘At least $110M coming’
$30M for airport safety, $24M for water infrastructure, other new investments
The $1-trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that the U.S. House of Representatives passed late Friday will bring millions of dollars in new investments to the CNMI, including $30 million to increase airport safety and $24 million in new money for water infrastructure, according to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP).
In his e-kilili newsletter over the weekend, Sablan said that President Joe Biden will sign the bill today (Monday in Washington, D.C.).
He said new investments include $30 million for the Commonwealth Ports Authority to increase airport safety and make these gateways to the CNMI more comfortable and efficient.
He said the $24 million in new funding for water infrastructure is something that he has focused on in his work in Congress. When he first arrived in Washington, D.C., annual funding for the CNMI’s water system was less than $1 million, Sablan said.
By enacting changes in the funding formula, Sablan said he was able to raise $88.6 million for the CNMI since then, enabling 24-hour water supply to Saipan.
He said other new investments are the $24 million for highways over the next five years, $7 million for the Marianas public transit system, and eligibility to compete for a pool of $7.5 billion for road projects that focus on climate change and user safety.
The delegate said there will also be $25 million to make broadband more available and more affordable.
He said Marianas families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for a new $30 per month broadband subsidy and a $100 device subsidy to help connect to the internet.
Shortly after the vote Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Sablan to thank him for his leadership and support.
“As the senior representative from the U.S. insular areas, I often take responsibility for bringing island concerns to the speaker, when major legislation is being drafted,” the delegate said.