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Asking for inflation-adjusted CIP funds not advisable, Kilili tells governor

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres said the $27.7 million in capital improvement project funding that the CNMI receives each year from the federal government has not been inflation-adjusted.

U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, for his part, said the CIP funding is shared by U.S. insular areas and, under the terms of an agreement negotiated by the Commonwealth, is a permanent appropriation — “one which previous federal administrations have recommended be ended entirely.”

Kilili told the governor that an attempt to adjust the amount “is probably not strategically advisable.”

Increasing the CIP funding of the CNMI, moreover, “would necessarily decrease how much goes to the other insular areas,” and this “would pit our areas against one another, which also I would not advise,” the congressman added.

He noted that under the terms of the Special Representatives Agreement that governs the allocation, the CNMI could increase its share by increasing its financial performance relative to the other insular areas.

Kilili said “rather than focusing on a problematic change in one area of CIP funding,” he has focused instead on bringing infrastructure funding to the CNMI from other directions.

“As you have previously noted, the change in the allocation formula for Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act grants, which I have been able to include in annual appropriations since fiscal year 2010, has brought $85 million to the Commonwealth. And I am working to make that change permanent through an amendment I offered to the Moving Forward Act, which passed the [U.S.] House this month,” Kilili said.

The Moving Forward Act also includes $500 million for school buildings and $300 million for childcare facilities in the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands, he added.

Kilili said he also added $56 million for solid waste facilities and $10.2 million for water infrastructure in the Northern Marianas to last year’s typhoon relief act.

He said he would certainly be interested in any report that the governor may have on how he is spending those funds.

The proposed Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act, Kilili added, contains another $945 million set aside solely for insular infrastructure.

 

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