The Department of Defense has released $309 million for the first phase of construction on a Marine base in Guam.
Congress had previously authorized projects associated with building the base, but that funding was frozen by restrictions put in place by the Senate. But Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo has announced that the funds for the initial phase of construction on the base in Dededo have been released, The Pacific Daily News reports.
Japan has already put up more than $1 billion in an effort to move 5,000 of their Marines and 1,700 of their dependents in Okinawa to Guam.
The Defense Department will put out bids for $309 million in projects that have not yet been awarded, Bordallo said.
The $309 million released Tuesday will go toward site and grade preparation, electrical, mechanical, and water and wastewater utilities upgrades, and construction of roadways and sidewalks leading to Finegayan, according to Bordallo's office.
Three sites will also be developed to support green waste processing and recycling facilities. Infiltration ponds and storm water conveyance systems will also be installed to mitigate environmental impacts of construction.
"The release of these funds continues to underscore the progress that we continue to make with the realignment of Marines from Okinawa to Guam, and it demonstrates our country's commitment to this critical national and regional security endeavor," Bordallo said in a press release. "I look forward to contracts for these projects being awarded, which will inject millions of dollars in needed capital into our island's economy."
The total cost of building a base and support facilities is estimated at $8.7 billion.
Both U.S. and Japan governments settled on plans to relocate Marines from Okinawa to Guam in 2006.