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Housing issues could now stall Marines’ Guam move

Date Posted: 2009-08-27

Disputes and deadlocks in processes and procedures for getting construction of base housing under way for Marines heading from Okinawa to Guam could set the project back beyond 2014.

What is being called a ‘bilateral gap’ in differences over the process of selecting a contractor for the housing project is being blamed for the delay, which could set the entire process more than a year behind schedule. Quality standards for the new quarters are said to be one of the disputed elements. One official says once the objections are ironed out, it will take at least 1 ˝ years before a bidder is chosen for to build the housing, and another 3-4 years for construction to be accomplished.

Japan has agreed to provide $6.09 billion of the projected $10.27 billion relocation costs, a figure that includes the base housing as well as infrastructure improvements. The U.S. has already proposed using part of that money for improving other military facilities not directly connected to the transfer of the Okinawa Marines.

The delays are certain to trigger renewed debate over plans to construct a new military airfield at Camp Schwab in northern Okinawa to replace Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan. The May 2006 agreement between Japan and the U.S. calls for the airfield to be completed before the Marines get to move to Guam.

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