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About half military, half workers

By Brett Kelman HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 3, 2010) – More than 14,500 people are expected to move to Guam for the buildup by the end of next year, according to revised population projections that reflect a slower buildup pace.

This is just the beginning of the buildup boom in Guam's future, but that future isn't too far away.

According to the final Environmental Impact Statement, about 55 percent of those new residents who move here by 2011 will be brought by the Department of Defense -- including 1,570 active duty Marines.

The other 45 percent will be workers and families who come to Guam in pursuit of jobs that are indirectly related to the buildup or have been induced by buildup growth, the final EIS states.

Guam's population will continue to climb until 2016, when the buildup numbers peak at 41,194 new residents, the document states. After that, numbers start to shrink slowly each year, down to about 33,600 people by 2020.

The Department of Defense announced this plan to slow down the buildup pace more than a week ago, but these new, detailed, year-by-year population projections were made public for the first time in the final EIS.

They are available online in the second section of Volume 7.

"Pace the construction, that's the phraseology we like to use," said Joint Guam Program Office Executive Director David Bice last week. "We are going to pace the construction to stay within the limits of Guam's capacities --whether it's wastewater, water, power, port, roads or any of that sort of thing."

Bice, a retired Marine major general who is overseeing the buildup, explained that the final EIS presents a new notional plan for the buildup that is more tailored to the reasonable possibilities for Guam's existing infrastructure.

An original buildup strategy that was detailed in the draft EIS released last November would have brought about 79,000 people to Guam by 2014 -- and about 27,800 people by 2011 -- but Guam's existing infrastructure was vastly unprepared for this boom.

And even if Guam managed to upgrade its infrastructure enough so that it could accommodate the population peak, most of those workers will leave a few years later, Bice said. That would leave Guam with wasteful, unnecessary capacity, he said.

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