Doug Domenech, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs, and Office of Insular Affairs director Nik Pula met with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres this week and signed over $5,649,042 in funding for the territory.
The funding came from the capital infrastructure program, compact impact funds, and the technical assistance program.
“I am pleased to have conferred with the governor and key officials [on] Saipan as well as to have visited some of Saipan’s sites and programs that Interior has supported for the people of the CNMI,” said Domenech. “Although your islands are physically distant from Washington, D.C., I assure you that [Interior] Secretary [Ryan] Zinke and I both do our best to share your issues and concerns at the highest levels possible within the administration.”
Domenech started his visit on Saipan with a trip to the Garapan Public Market. He also participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for several recently completed water distribution and improvement projects funded through the Office of Insular Affairs for the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
In celebration of National Park Week, Domenech visited the American Memorial Park— a “living” memorial with a variety of outdoor activities in honor of those who gave their lives during the Marianas Campaign of World War II.
Domenech closed out his visit to Saipan by attending the Micronesia Islands Forum where he met with island leaders from the Micronesia region. Also in attendance at the meetings were the U.S. ambassadors to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Projects funded in the CNMI for fiscal year 2018 are listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, funds are provided through the Capital Infrastructure Program.
Compact Impact Funds ($2,309,362) to defray costs borne by the CNMI government for social and public services used by migrants from the freely associated states of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau. The compact impact funds will be distributed among several public service providers as follows:
-The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.: Hospital, Clinics, Guidance Center – $919,916
-Division of Youth Services – 10,931
-Department of Public Safety – $262,049
-Department of Corrections – $416,151
-Public Defenders Office – $39,216
-Northern Marianas College – $41,355
-Public School System – $204,905
-Karidat Social Services – $50,667
-Judiciary – $113,072
-Department of Fire and Emergency Services – $276,470
-The Department of Public Works ($1,693,826) for the construction of an environmentally compliant landfill on the islands of Tinian ($846,913) and Rota ($846,913), to include a transfer station, for the disposal of non-hazardous solid waste.
-CNMI 702 CIP Program Administration Office ($328,624) to fund the Program Administration Office, an entity independent of the Department of Public Works to manage implementation of CIP projects from inception to completion.
-Commonwealth Utilities Corp. ($101,550) for the maintenance of infrastructure projects, including repairs, improvements, andrehabilitation activities or equipment purchases related to the maintenance of federally or locally funded projects. Earlier in 2018, OIA awarded a related grant of $5 million for power plant cleanup on Saipan to help the CNMI government meet court-ordered requirements to meet certain environmental standards necessary to protect the public.
-Insular ABC’s Initiative ($1,000,000) to support the Insular Assessment of Buildings and Classrooms’ health and safety initiatives to address critical deferred maintenance issues through the CNMI Public School System.
-Commonwealth Ports Authority ($215,680) to acquire additional automated passport control units for the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport. The automated units will ensure that eligible travelers are able to clear U.S. Customs and Border Protection formalities quickly, securely, and without preregistration. Funds for this project were provided through the OIA Technical Assistance Program. (PR)