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2019 CIP money will fund ASTCA Hawaiki cable to the tune of $2Mil

Americsn Samoa Executive Office Building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —  Of the nine projects to be funded for fiscal year 2019 with Capital Improvement Project money from the federal government, one of the them is funding for the Hawaiki submarine cable. The American Samoa branching unit is owned and operated by the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority.

FY 2019 funding allocations for the CIP — which is more than $9.86 million — is included in the proposed final FY 2019 budget which was submitted to the Fono last Friday.

Of the total CIP money, $2 million is goes to ASTCA for the “Hawaiki cable”, according to the budget document, but didn’t provide any other details.

The American Samoa branching unit total cost is $29 million, which is partly funded by a loan and an equity investment from the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Fund. (See Just Asking in Samoa News July 30, 2018 issue for details.)

As in previous fiscal years, there are no explanations or specific details provided in the CIP funding budget category, just the amount of money along with the recipient — or the agency — that is to receive this federal assistance.

However, it’s during Fono budget hearings in past years that some lawmakers are able to question ASG officials as to how the money will be spent.

Meanwhile, also getting $2 million each in CIP is LBJ Medical Center for renovations to the Delivery and Operating Room and the new proposed two-story Fono building, which is holding a ground breaking ceremony today. (See separate story in today’s edition for more details on contractor of the project.)

The CIP budget document also shows that there are three recipients of $1 million each : American Samoa Shipyard Authority for the renovation of the $3,000 ton slipway; Department of Education (ASDOE) for Manu’a Consolidated; and American Samoa Power Authority for electrical and solid waste improvements.

ASDOE is also receiving $500,000 for the Insular Schools: Assessment of Buildings and Classrooms (ABCs) or Insular ABCs, which is a US Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs initiative launched in 2011 to improve school facilities in the US territories working with insular governments and the US Army Corps of Engineer.

According to the budget document, the American Samoa Community College is allocated $364,000 for “maintenance upgrades and renovations”.