Faipule appeals for balance of Western District's $1Mil
Tualauta faipule Florence Saulo is appealing to Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga for the remaining $150,000 from the $1 million allocated to the Western District for capital improvement projects to assist with the long overdue road problems in the Tualauta District, in a letter sent last week to the governor.
The three districts, Eastern, Western and Manu’a, each received in 2009, $1million to carry out capital improvement projects from a $20 Million loan the government received from the ASG Employees Retirement Fund.
The faipule quoted a recent article by Samoa News reporting there’s approximately $150,000 remaining in said account.
“While I will not comment on how the rest of the $1 million was spent by those individuals responsible for the fund, I will say that projects such as roads and infrastructure were what those funds were meant for. And since Tualauta does not seem to have received its fair share of the total amount, it would only be right to earmark the remaining amount to assist in fixing some of the roads,” said Saulo.
In her letter, the Tualauta faipule commended the Governor for keeping his campaign promises of immediate change within the government and territory.
“With the first 100 days of your administration behind you, American Samoa has seen much needed improvements and progress in Government operations and our island’s infrastructure. I have no doubt that we can expect more of the same for the remainder of your first term.”
Saulo noted that the Tualauta road project in the villages of Pava’ia’i, Tafeta and Ili’ili are moving along well and the commuting public is very thankful for the work in progress. However, she says, there still remains much work to be done, and it is promising to see that each day a stretch of new pavement is put in. “I am confident that with your leadership and oversight, this project will be completed in no time, which is why I am making this request now."
However, she wrote, “As you know, despite the ongoing road work in my District, there still remain miles of back roads that need Government assistance.”
“Because Tualauta is spread out in such a large area, the service roads to residences and homes for most of our residents remain vital to transportation and access to the public highways,” she noted. “Areas of Faleniu, Ili’ili, Tafuna, Pava’ia’i and Vaitogi desperately need the Government’s help in restoring suitability for driving.”
The faipule said Tualauta over the years has become the hotspot for the rest of our Territory to relocate to and as a result, its population has jumped significantly and bringing with it the dire need for crucial services such as utilities, education and transportation. “The former Administration had tried to meet those needs but unfortunately not much was done and you came to inherit the challenge, “ she said.
Saulo said that “some of the most urgent areas include the Kokoland access roads, the Iliili roads behind the Golf course, the area opposite the Cost U Less warehouse in Tafuna, the roads in the Tafuna Fagaima areas, the dirt road leading from Cost U Less to the Naumati residential area; the road leading from Pava’ia’i near the Aoloau intersection; the road leading from the main portion of Faleniu village heading into a large residential area behind Faleniu; and the back roads from Vaitogi village heading into the residential areas, and other roads and access ways utilized by many families.”
She points to residents being so desperate in some of the identified areas that “they took it upon themselves to address the potholes and bumps, because during heavy rainstorms, the children of these areas have to contend with the flooding and puddles that collect on these dirt roads on their way to school,” and notes that recently, she spent personal funds “to address the severe conditions with the roads leading in most of these areas.”
The faipule noted that this is the plea from her constituents on a daily basis and she’s given assurance to Tualauta residents that all is being done in order to address their concerns.
Saulo wrote that she’s willing to work with this Administration for what is necessary to combat these long overdue road problems as soon as possible for the Tualauta residents, and given the critical issue of available funding for such projects.
She told Governor Lolo that together, "we can be very creative in finding funds" to help fix the roads.”
In particular, the faipule suggests the time has come to use the Road Maintenance Fund for what it was really meant to be used, and “with the proper use … we can immediately deal with the current state of our highways, and be assured that their future maintenance and repair are provided for.”
The use of the fund for other things than road maintenance, she wrote, and “I am certain that you [the governor] agree with me that such a practice must stop.”
"It is time to redirect those funds to do what they were really meant to do, i.e. fix our roads,” the Tualauta faipule stated.
The letter was also sent to Lt Governor Lemanu Mauga, Western District Governor Lualemaga Faoa, and Director of Public Works, Faleosina Voigt.
Samoa News understands that at least one village in the Western District is saying that their ‘share’ of the $1 Million for infrastructure projects in their village has not been received, and are seeking the governor’s help to release the funds — which is around $30,000.