Since its inception in May 2021, the CNMI Infrastructure and Recovery Program has completed the required assessments/reporting for permitting for over 40 federally projects for different government agencies, as requested by government stakeholder agencies, according to IRP project liaison Deveney M. Dela Cruz.
In response to Saipan Tribune’s inquiry about IRP accomplishments, Dela Cruz said Monday that they completed the required archaeological monitoring and biological survey for the Oleai Sports Complex in preparation for the recent Pacific Mini Games.
She said they finished the Section 106 (archaeological) assessment/recommendation for over 100 Northern Marianas Housing Corp.-U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded home sites for their qualified Homebuyer-New Construction, Rehabilitation/Reconstruction, and Affordable Housing Rental Program applicants.
Dela Cruz said they accomplished the permitting and scoping needs for the CNMI Homeland Security Emergency Management Marpi Communications Tower.
They’re also done with permitting and coordination for the Department of Lands and Natural Resources’ Garapan Fishing Base Riprock Revetment Project, as well as with the design and permitting needs for the Sugar Dock Association Pavilion Rehabilitation in Chalan Kanoa.
Dela Cruz said IRP hosted six trainings, including the ongoing site inspections and project delivery management trainings at the Aqua Resort Club in Achugao, in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Interagency Recovery Coordination for participants on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
She said they also assisted the Historic Preservation Office whenever possible with additional projects as HPO does not currently have an archeologist.
Dela Cruz said the IRP under Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ Directive 21-005 sets out their program to continue until May 2023.
She said they hope that the program can continue past this May 2023 deadline, but in this remaining year, they are working to see that all projects that they have been or will be tasked or asked to assist with not only complete the permitting requirements but that they can also help monitor and support as many of them as possible to completion.
“We hope to strengthen the communication between our stakeholders and permitting agencies to streamline the permitting process and reduce the wait time for approval,” she said.
Dela Cruz said they collaborate with more federal partners, including FEMA, for more trainings that support the capacity needs of the CNMI government and other entities that support permitting needs for infrastructure and recovery-related projects and see how federal partners can support the CNMI.
Torres created the IRP to streamline the process and expedite federally-funded projects worth nearly a billion dollars for different government agencies.
IRP assists the Disaster Relief-Public Assistance of FEMA and hazard mitigation projects and moves forward projects of the Northern Marianas College, the Public School System, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and some road projects.
Marianne Concepcion-Teregeyo is the IRP’s coordinator.