The recent reprogramming of funds originally earmarked for the construction of a parking garage on St. John may not mean the island’s parking problem will continue indefinitely.
The project will likely be funded in 2008, according to Government House spokesperson John Greaux.
“It is a priority,” said Greaux. “It will probably be funded in 2008.”
The funds were lost on June 20 when Governor John deJongh sent a spending bill to the V.I. Senate reprogramming $6,337,475 — $2,337,475 of which was dedicated to the construction of the St. John parking garage — to more critical needs.
More Critical Needs
Those critical needs included gasoline expenses for the Department of Property and Procurement at a cost of $1,105,475, and 2007 hurricane season pre-event contracts for the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, which received $200,000.
The parking garage funds were lost because it was evident the project would not begin by September, explained Greaux.
“The monies were reprogrammed because of the status of the project,” he said. “It became quite clear that given the present status of plans for the project, there’s no way it could have gotten off the ground by September.”
Former Senator at Large Craig Barshinger put funding for the parking garage in the miscellaneous section of the proposed 2007 budget, and the money was allocated in September 2006. Nothing had been done since then to move forward with design and construction of the parking garage, Barshinger explained.
“I have no knowledge or belief that anything was done to push the parking garage forward,” Barshinger said. “I thought they should immediately institute use of that money because parking is St. John’s number one problem.”