Palikir, Pohnpei— The World Bank has approved the Federated States of Micronesia’s $40 million road improvement plan, the Office of the FSM President announced.
The FSM Prioritized Road Investment and Management Enhancements (PRIME) Project is a component of the Pave the Nation program, which FSM President David Panuelo announced during his inauguration.
“Not a single day goes by without a call or email to the government about the state of our nation’s roads, and it seems like not a single day goes by without citizens across our four states posting pictures on social media of environmental damage from our roads, or the danger from excessively large potholes,” Panuelo said.
According to a press release from Panuelo’s office, the PRIME Project will implement FSM’s climate-resilient road strategy.
“If the argument is to simply make people’s lives easier and healthier, to help them get from one place to another, our nation needs durable, sustainable, climate-resilient roads," Panuelo said.
"If the argument is that, if we champion environmental stewardship, we ought to practice it, then our nation needs durable, sustainable, climate-resilient roads; if the argument is that we face challenges related to sea-level rise, intensified storm surges, increased rainfall, and flooding—like we saw this very wee — then our nation needs durable, sustainable, climate-resilient roads,” Panuelo added.
The FSM PRIME Project will also fund road safety initiatives, assist with improving access to drivers licenses, and support technical employment opportunities for women, the FSM government said.
“While many development projects focus on or otherwise address abstract concepts, the urgency for needing strong, durable, climate-resilient roads are likely to manifest to all FSM citizens,” officials said.
The FSM government noted that potholes “play an active role in harming the surrounding environment.”
FSM officials also noted that coral roads across the nation “are environmentally unsustainable to construct, serve their purpose for fewer years than fingers on a person’s hand and, upon their inevitable disintegration to rainfall and natural disasters, pollute waterways and mangroves.”