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White House urges approval of $500 million allocation

By Therese Hart HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Sept. 24, 2010) – The White House is urging the U.S. Senate to keep funding for the military buildup on Guam.

A Statement of Administration that the White House released on Tuesday stated the Obama administration is asking the Senate, which last June cut US$320 million for military-related projects, to allocate funding for the buildup.

Japan and the U.S. already exchanged notes agreeing to the transfer of close to US$500 million this Fiscal Year 2010 from the Japanese coffers to the U.S. to finance the buildup.

The U.S. share is the same but Japan would end up paying about 60 percent of the cost once it is completed.

A delay in the funding could mean paying more for the projects in the future and increasing the total cost of a massive U.S. military realignment planned in the Pacific, according to the statement released by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The Senate Armed Services Committee said in June it removed some funding because the money was requested "ahead of need."

The recent signing of the Record of Decision will award up to US$1 billion in military contracts for construction projects.

Congress is working on a draft of the spending plan for the construction for the next fiscal year. It will not be final until signed by President Obama, according to the Stars and Stripes.

The money from Japan will be used to build and design base facilities in the Finegayan area of Guam, including an administrative building, Marine Logistics Group headquarters, police station, training complex, enlisted dining facility and bachelor enlisted quarters, the Joint Guam Program Office said.

The money will also be used to build a US$25 million fire station in Finegayan and a US$96 million medical clinic and a US$25 million port operations headquarters at Apra Harbor.

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