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Vice Speaker May File Suit To Stop Guam Crane Purchase
Proposes port authority scraps plan, buy 2 new cranes

By Joy White

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Nov. 29, 2012) – As the Port Authority of Guam (PAG) continues to work on purchasing three Port of Los Angeles (POLA) cranes by the end of the year, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz is standing by his position that purchasing three used cranes for $21 million is a bad deal.

PAG is purchasing the POLA cranes from Matson-Horizon for $12 million, through a loan approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in August. An additional $9 million will be needed for repairs.

"I’m reviewing the situation and I’m seriously considering filing an action in court to challenge the action the board has taken," Cruz said, adding if he files court action before the loan and purchase agreement are finalized in December, the deal may still be stopped.

According to Cruz, the three cranes being purchased are already aged and may break down. Instead, Cruz is proposing that the Port purchase two new cranes (including a warranty) for $18 million, plus $1 million each for shipping costs.

But PAG board chairman Daniel Tydingco is defending the purchase of the cranes, stating, "We’ve worked with two crane consultants and we had financial experts look at this as well. We had a crane negotiating team, and I think we’re pretty comfortable right now with what has been charged."

Tydingco further stated, "We’ve been working diligently with certified professionals that we have been required and mandated to do. The Vice Speaker is certainly welcome to go ahead and continue to oppose. There’s nothing to prevent him from doing that."

Currently, the PAG board is discussing the insurance coverage of the cranes. In order to move forward with the loan agreement to purchase the cranes, insurance coverage is required. However, in order to cover the cranes, several million dollars in funding is needed, which may not be available with the current budget cuts. Despite these concerns, the PAG board had approved an insurance option for the cranes.

A list of new surcharges associated with the new cranes was also approved by the PUC recently. Public hearings regarding the surcharges began yesterday evening and will continue tonight at the Dededo Senior Citizens Center.

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