San Nicolas: 'Before we think of borrowing again...'
Guam leaders need to explore other options to fund the construction of a new hospital before resorting to the borrowing market, Congressman Michael San Nicolas said.
And first, San Nicolas added, there must be a clear plan.
"We don't even have the land for the facility, we have no plans or designs for the facility, and yet we are rushing to borrow, commit money in a pandemic, and take on massive debt," San Nicolas said, commenting on a bill proposing to borrow up to $1 billion for a new hospital, public health and behavioral health facility.
"Rather than rush things for political purposes we should engage our federal partners to fully scope out our needs and costs so that we do not end up stuck with debt that didn't meet our needs, and we hope our Senators take advantage of this opportunity," San Nicolas said.
In a letter to local lawmakers, San Nicolas extended an invitation to attend an on-island briefing from Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) District Commander Lt. Colonel Eric Marshall.
In particular, the briefing will inform lawmakers of added support ACE can provide to properly determine the need and costs of a modernized hospital and healthcare system.
"The current ACE estimates lawmakers are working with is based on replacing GMH only, and does not include the need to increase current or future bed capacity, or to bring in specialty services and reduce the need to seek care off-island," said San Nicolas.
"Before we go out and borrow a billion dollars we need to make absolutely sure that our current and future needs are being met because a 30-year debt on our people demands a facility that will meet the 30-year needs of our people."