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CPA endorses $500M Tinian port project

Commonwealth Ports Authority board members Ramon A. Tebuteb, Thomas "Kiyu" Villagomez, Chairwoman Kimberlyn King-Hinds, board member Joseph Diaz, a CPA technical staff member, and board member Pete P. Reyes during a special meeting in the Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting classroom on Thursday.

Posted on July 12, 2023

THE Commonwealth Ports Authority board of directors on Thursday adopted CPA Resolution 2023-4 and a letter of intent or LOI to endorse the $500 million Tinian Port Joint Area Development Project.

The endorsement will help the Department of Defense secure congressional defense authorization to fund the project beginning in fiscal year 2025, the CPA board said in a statement on Thursday.

As part of the overall development of defense-support facilities in the Western Pacific, DoD, through the Indo-Pacific Command, submitted a request for an LOI to CPA on July 3 formally requesting CPA’s support.

The DoD project on Tinian includes the construction of two warehouse facilities, hardening and repairs to the four berths, dredging the harbor to 28 feet, removal of finger Pier A and installing two mooring buoys outside the harbor.

For the CPA board, the key aspect of the project is the repair of the 4,600-foot breakwater to protect the port area.

But the CPA board said the adoption of the resolution does not mean CPA is agreeing to the project already. It simply signals the start of the discussions toward an agreement while allowing DoD to secure federal funding.

The CPA board at the same time has reviewed the project proposal, conducted a townhall discussion on Tinian and met with the CNMI and Tinian leadership.

According to the CPA board, the U.S. military will not own the Tinian seaport, but DoD will bring the money for the project that CPA could never afford without substantial bonding and burdening fiscal obligations.

CPA reiterated that the ports authority owns the Tinian Port, but DoD will have easement rights to repair, build, and maintain the port. Both CPA and DoD will develop the port together for civilian, commercial and military purposes, the CPA board said.

In response to the CPA board’s approval of the LOI, Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said: “This project comes one time in our lives: a major infrastructure project in partnership with the United States and our military. A rebuilt Tinian Port is a stronger support facility consistent with the vision of our Covenant.”

For his part, CPA Executive Director Christopher Tenorio said, “This agreement is monumental because in partnership with DoD we will have a modern, functioning Tinian port for our community and for our strategic partnership with the United States for national security.”

CPA Board Chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds said: “Our airports and seaports on Tinian, when repaired and maintained, provide the key links for development and progress. The Letter of Intent enables DoD to secure the funding and CPA commits to the project for our mutual benefit in every way possible. This is the beginning of a negotiation process similar to that of the divert lease in 2019. We are excited to pursue opportunities for our CNMI.”


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