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Update: Samoa Gov’t gifted land in Tafuna leased to Taxi Association

A clean-up was carried out last Saturday at the ASG land in Tafuna, gifted by American Samoa to the Samoa government, as a part of a land exchange between the two Samoas. The Tafuna land — which includes a single building and used years ago by the nonprofit Goodwill Industries — has been leased by the Samoa government to the local Taxi Owners Association (TOA), who will use and maintain it.  [photo: FS]

The nearly one-acre ASG land in Tafuna — next to the Tafuna Health Center and gifted by America Samoa to the Samoa government — is now being utilized by a local taxi association, which plans to launch operations this Friday.

Gov.  Lolo Matalasi Moliga told a cabinet meeting two months ago that he has been informed by Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi that this parcel of land will be leased to local taxi operators to use and maintain until the Samoa Government decides on how best to use the land.

At last month’s meeting of the Project Notification Review Service (PNRS) board, a permit request by the Taxi Owners Association (TOA) group for building renovation and other upgrades to the land, was among the applications reviewed.

The board was informed of the approval from the Samoa Government for TOA to use the parcel of land. Samoa Consul General in American Samoa, Auseugaefa Va’asatia Poloma Komiti helped the process, by coordinating with all ASG agencies on required paperwork for use of the land by TOA.

PNRS recently approved the permit application and TOA issued a public notice last week, announcing  the official launching of its operations on Oct. 27th. (See paid advertisement in Samoa News' Oct. 18 and 19th editions).

TOA president, Tuitama'i Emanuelu Ulberg, expressed appreciation to the governments of American Samoa and Samoa  for their support of the request.

Tuitama’i represented TOA during the PNRS hearing.

The land in Tafuna was initially used by the nonprofit Goodwill Industries, which had a building that is being renovated by TOA, whose representatives were at the site last Saturday carrying out cleanup of the land.

Tuitama’i told Samoa News over the weekend that electricity and water have already been connected  for the building, while telephone service is expected to be hooked up this week.

Meanwhile, the American Samoa Government is still looking at ways to utilize its parcel of land gifted by the Samoa government in the Vailima area of Apia. ASG officials will review possible options for the site, when they travel to Apia next month.

The land exchange between the two Samoas was initiated about five years ago — during the Togiola Administration — through a memorandum of understanding for use of the lands and language of the the MOU was revamped in 2014 during the Lolo Administration.