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Fono Briefs

reporters@samoanews.com

DPW officials to appear in the House this morning for a hearing on growing pothole problem  

Acting Director for the Department of Public Works Faleosina Faiai Voight is scheduled to appear before the House Committee on Public Works this morning to field questions about the growing pothole problem in the territory.

With the recent rainy weather conditions, new and deeper potholes are popping up everywhere along the main highway all over the island. Local residents have complained about the problem, prompting lawmakers to address the issue sooner than later.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Works Rep. Atualevao Gafatasi Afalava has scheduled Voight to appear in the Fono’s lower chamber this morning at 8:30 a.m. at which time the DPW acting director will be questioned about what Public Works is doing to address the problem; and what long term plans there are, if any, for repairing and restoring the roads, rather than the usual quick ‘patch-up’ jobs. Additionally, Voight is also expected to provide a report on projects already completed, projects that are in store for the next couple of years, and of course, the availability of funds and funding sources.

Another issue expected to be raised is the status of the long anticipated Airport Road Project which was awarded to Whitehorn Construction last year, but has been halted as the land use permit had expired.

Samoa News spoke to the head of the PNRS Board Marvis Vaiaga’e who confirmed that the land use permit for this particular project had indeed expired, but he released a new one last week Wednesday.

According to Vaiaga’e, land use permits are generally good for two years, but only if the project commences within a year’s time. This means if the project does not begin within that first year, a new land use permit will have to be issued. He also explained that for federally funded projects, it is the responsibility of Public Works to initiate the project proceedings, including the acquisition of a land use permit. 

Tualauta faipule requests financial report for ASG and House of Representatives

During the House regular session last week, Rep. Larry Sanitoa requested the financial report for the House of Representatives be made available for review. The request was made to House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale. Sanitoa said there is no ulterior motive for his request, and he personally felt that the availability of the financial report will ensure that there is transparency in the Fono. In addition to the Fono’s lower chamber, Sanitoa is also requesting that a copy of the government’s latest financial statements be made available. He said the ASG’s fourth quarter performance report did not include a detailed report from the Treasury Department and therefore, the government’s true financial situation is not known.

Besides financial reports, Sanitoa also reminded his fellow lawmakers that the Fono is yet to resolve the budget for the American Samoa Power Authority, as the previous legislature only approved a 4-month budget for the semi-autonomous agency. The Tualauta faipule is calling on the House Speaker to consult with the Senate President about ways to address the situation.



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