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Governor announces $10.7 million in Emergency Relief funds from DOT

(BASED ON A PRESS RELEASE) —Thursday, January 12, 2012 —Governor Togiola Tulafono today announced that on January 9, 2012 U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has awarded $1.6 billion of Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Emergency Relief (ER) Funds to states and territories to assist in repairing damages to roads, bridges and other roadway features damaged by various natural disasters.

Togiola is pleased to announce that American Samoa will receive $10,770,156.00 of these funds for damage caused by the September 29, 2009 earthquake and tsunami. 

The governor said with this new allocation, to date, American Samoa has received a total of $36 million in Emergency Relief funds (FY2010 - $15M; FY2011- $9M; FY2012- $12M). The original cost estimate that was approved by FHWA for twenty-six eligible projects was $49,348,345.00.

“We are very thankful for this funding for our projects under the Emergency Relief Program (ER: AS09-1) for the September 29, 2009 tsunami,” he said. “American Samoa is very grateful because it greatly assists our project construction as a result of serious damage to Federal-aid highways caused by the earthquake and tsunami that occurred 27 months ago.”

Togiola said, of the 26 projects, the Department of Public Works (DPW) has entered into agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the execution of thirteen projects, while DPW manages the other 13. 

Status of the 26 Tsunami Emergency Relief Projects:

1) Completed Projects: 4 projects with total costs of approximately $1.5m;

2) On Going Construction Projects: 4 projects with total contract amount of approximately $6.2m;

3) Ready for Construction Award by FY2012 – 7 projects;

4) Ready for Construction Award by FY2013 and FY2014 – 11 projects

The governor expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration for their support of these much-needed projects for the Territory.

“On behalf of the people of American Samoa, I wish to convey our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Secretary LaHood, Mr. Abraham Wong of the FHWA Hawaii Division for their continued support and partnerships over the years and especially during the times of natural disasters,” he said. “We appreciate the Emergency Relief program and the FHWA assistance to ensure that our transportation needs are repaired and restored.”

“I would also like to thank the people of American Samoa for your continued patience and understanding for our recovery efforts to repair and restore these critical transportation needs. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts by the Director of Public Works Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei, the Civil Highways Division and staff, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the administration and management of these projects necessary for the preservation of our transportation system,” the governor concluded.