Tinian Mayor Ray Dela Cruz has written to Gov. Eloy S. Inos, applauding the Marine Corps’ recent “ad hoc” meetings and raising what he considers the most critical question facing Tinian—the development of long-term transportation logistics for both the civilian and the military community.
“The logistics requirements for operation of the ranges and support requirements for an average of 1,000 personnel on Tinian require the military development of the seaport and airport,” said Dela Cruz. “This seaport and airport development provides a unique opportunity to leverage the DOD military improvements into civilian improvements that will benefit the entire CNMI.”
Recognizing that the CNMI does not have the funding to support such a study, the mayor recommends Inos to “encourage the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to provide assistance to the Commonwealth Ports Authority to assure military use of the civilian infrastructure at the seaport and airport is compatible with continued civilian uses.”
What Tinian needs, said the mayor, is a “comprehensive Tinian Ports Master Plan, a plan that will ensure that CNMI equities are fully protected with the impending military development.”
Dela Cruz raised the issue with Assistant Secretary of the Interior Lori Faeth and OIA Director Nik Pula during their March 28 meeting on Tinian. Both agreed that such a study would provide important planning information for the future.
Fortunately, as the mayor pointed out to Faeth, language exists in both the Covenant and the 1984 lease and leaseback agreements that provides a legal basis for the military to assist CPA in planning for the joint development of facilities.
The mayor concluded his message to the governor by noting what others have recognized. “The existing use agreements for the seaport and airport are out of date, having been negotiated during a time that military use of Tinian was for occasional exercises. Long-term planning, through development of an executable master plan that includes an economic analysis, should be of the highest priority for CPA in regards to the Tinian ports.” (Office of the Mayor of Tinian and Aguiguan)