The chief of the Department of Public Works and three board members of the Commonwealth Ports Authority were sworn in Thursday on Capital Hill.
James Ada, acting secretary for the DPW, and Pete P. Reyes, Roman T. Tudela, and Jose R. Lifoifoi, who were earlier appointed as CPA board members, will now officially start in their respective offices.
According Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres, the new government officials have been given their assignments and priorities.
Ada, according to Torres, has been asked to prioritize infrastructure projects, one of which is the improvement of areas in Puerto Rico.
The big ticket project in the area is a $22-million road improvement project that is currently ongoing.
Ada was also earlier asked at a Senate nomination hearing on the department’s budget, as well as allocations.
He was earlier told by senators that the department’s budget “might be a challenge.” In a proposal, DPW is asking that it allocates $1.7 million to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. for DPW’s streetlights.
One lawmaker said this amount can be used for other purposes.
Ada, in an interview, confirmed the proposed payment to CUC, noting that payments for streetlights ranges from a low of $150,000 per month, to a high of $190,000. “But we will work with the resources that we have,” he said.
Torres, meanwhile, said the newly-sworn in CPA board members will have to prioritize the U.S military divert plan.
A “hybrid” plan was earlier proposed by the military, which included setting up facilities on both Saipan and Tinian, but the CPA has been steadfast in rejecting the idea.
CPA board chair Jose Lifoifoi said, “There is no change in the position” of the CPA in opposing the divert plan.
Lifoifoi said there is no scheduled meeting yet between CPA and military representatives on the divert plan. But a meeting is expected to happen soon, as the CPA board now has a quorum.
Last February, CPA met with lawmakers to again emphasize that they will not give in to the military’s plan to have a divert airfield on Saipan.
Saipan is the U.S. Air Force’s preferred alternative for its divert plans in the CNMI, according to a draft environmental impact statement published earlier.
The CPA board of directors essentially said “no” to this alternative in a resolution.