Guam Undersea Access for Homes Act now law

TERLAJE: Speaker Therese Terlaje talks about her amendment to the budget bill during session Aug. 16 at the Guam Congress Building in Hagåtña. Terlaje has authored a new law, which approves and sets new rates for undersea data cable licenses. Post file photo

Acting Gov. Josh Tenorio has signed into law Bill 277-36, legislation authorizing the Chamorro Land Trust Commission to enter into commercial submerged land license agreements with telecommunication companies.

Lawmakers passed the bill Monday, ahead of other measures to be considered Friday, as one lease is expiring at the end of September. The bill's enactment comes just in time for renegotiations. 

Now known as Public Law 36-108, the landing fees and licensing fees in the measure will establish a long-term funding source for the Chamorro Land Trust Survey and Infrastructure Fund, directly benefiting residents by aiding in the construction of additional power and water lines to CLTC leaseholders, Tenorio said in his enactment letter.

Speaker Therese Terlaje introduced Bill 277, also known as the Guam Undersea Access for Homes Act, or GUAHA.

"While previous leases for submerged lands licenses were undervalued as low as $5,000 per year, GUAHA brings the baseline for new or renegotiated leases up to $100,000 per year per cable with an escalation of 2% per annum. The funds generated from these licenses would get deposited into the Chamorro Land Trust Survey and Infrastructure Fund since a lack of surveys on CLTC property is one of the primary roadblocks to the issuance of residential and agricultural leases," Terlaje stated in a press release from her speaker's office.

Terlaje stated in the release that providing resources for surveys is critical to get families into homes on CLTC properties. 

"The advantages of this bill are far-reaching, and this measure is a steppingstone to lift our entire community up. Our residents continue to struggle with affordable housing options for their families and with record inflation, gas prices and utility costs, it is my hope that we continue to enact policies that encourage fair and responsible development on Guam that directly impacts the lives of our families in a positive way," the speaker stated in the release.

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