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Guam - While Senator Chris Duenas is pushing for a public hearing for his bucks for buses bill, Senator Tom Ada says that this is all just a political game because there is already money available for buses that isn't being used.
There has been much talk about whether or not lawmakers should take a cut in their salary in order to fund the leasing of buses needed to satisfy the double session at George Washington High School. Senator Tom Ada says there is already money available for the buses. In mid-February Senator Ada wrote to the governor urging him to request for funding from the Department of the Interior. "Almost immediately the Department of Interior when the governor did submit his request the Department of the Interior granted $1.3 million dollars for the purchase of buses, unfortunately to this very day there is not a bid that has been issued to purchase these buses,” said Ada.
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However, even if the procurement went through as planned the buses would take about a year to land on Guam. The only way to solve the current busing crisis this late in the game would be to lease some buses that are already on island. Senator Ada says there is already a funding source for this as well. He gave us a copy of bill 437 which was passed and signed into law. "Which authorized the administration to, through a tax credit program, to purchase up to 50 buses to purchase or lease up to 50 buses in a multi-year procurement arrangement. So again, there is nothing escaping them from, for example, executing leases of buses to address the double session that they are going to have at G.W. so I believe the resources are there the authorizations are there to be able to address the bus situation right now,” said Senator Ada adding, "I think it's unfortunate that this whole issue is being made political football when really all the authorizations that are needed is already in place."
Senator Chris Duenas is still pushing for a public hearing for his “Bucks for Buses” bill which cuts senators salaries to pay for buses. He wants to see his bill on the August 27th session agenda. PNC asked him what he thought about Senator Ada's statements that there is already funding available for buses. "Yeah and that's probably true Clynt and what I would like to share with the folks once again also is there is a lot of different components to this bill one of the components to this bill also exists with assisting with perhaps hiring mechanics buying supplies so I think every bit of effort right now especially effort that can be done at the front end and immediately should be taken into consideration,” said Duenas. The Senator says that fixing the bus system should be a multi-pronged approach and one that begins with his “Bucks for Buses” bill.
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