Home News Local news TERRITORY TO GET $5.4 MILLION FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS

TERRITORY TO GET $5.4 MILLION FOR CAPITAL PROJECTS

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President Clinton signed legislation Wednesday that will release $5.4 million to the Virgin Island to fund infrastructure improvements in the territory.
The grant, which became part of the Fiscal Year 2000 Interior Department budget, got its first boost in June when the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee passed it as an amendment by its chairman, Sen. Frank Murkowski.
The funds are earmarked for work on several federally mandated and court-ordered projects, such as prison expansion, improvements to the territory's wastewater-treatment facilities and school construction.
At the time the subcommittee approved the appropriation, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull was in Washington meeting with federal officials. Both the governor and Delegate Donna Christian-Christiansen said Murkowski's willingness to help the Virgin Islands out of its fiscal crisis was predicated upon the territory also trying to help itself.
In a release from Government House in June, Turnbull said, "We welcome the additional federal assistance and accept the need for mutually agreed-upon accountability and performance standards. We know that the federal government will only begin to help us when we first act to help ourselves.
"We know that we have to accept some pain and sacrifice in the months that lie ahead in order to return to fiscal health and to ensure a brighter future for the next generation of Virgin Islanders."
In Wednesday's release Turnbull said he had thanked the president and Murkowski for their continuing assistance.
Clinton is expected to sign legislation in the next few days that will temporarily increase the amount of federal rum excise taxes returned to the territory from $10.50 to $13.25 per gallon. The legislation makes the increase retroactive to July 1, 1999 and extends it through Dec. 31, 2001, which should generate between $30- $34 million in revenues for the territory.

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