A turnkey ceremony for the handover of an American with Disabilities Act-accessible van to the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority was held on Friday.
The day before, COTA arrived on Tinian to train the Tinian Mayor’s office and Aguiguan staff in the use of the van that is supposed to transport the elderly, people with disabilities and the general population of the island.
Various local officials attended the ceremony, including Governor Ralph DLG Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan, Special Assistant for Public Transport Alfreda Camacho, Senate President Jude U. Hofschneider and Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig.
Also in attendance were COTA staff, governor’s office staff, Voices of the CNMI Tinian, CNMI network partners for the disabled, local department heads and the Tinian Mayor’s office, and Aguiguan staff.
“This is again a continuation of progress looking forward [to] Not only are we expanding our transit here in Saipan, but as you know this is an entire Commonwealth.
On July 1, the then incumbent governor Palacios led the official handover of an ADA-accessible delivery truck to the municipality of Rota.
After typhoon Mangkhut on Rota and super typhoon Yutu on Tinian in autumn 2018, the governor, the then Senate President Palacios and the CNMI leadership recognized the urgent need to change the transport services on the two islands to alternative forms of transport, especially for the elderly and people with physical disabilities.
This prompted COTA to coordinate with the CNMI network partners for the disabled to source ADA-accessible vehicles for the Rota and Tinian communities.
The total cost of these two ADA-accessible vans is $ 204,990.
Working with the 20th Legislature, led by then-chairman of House Ways and Means, Angel A. Demapan, raised $ 150,000 to fund these vehicles while $ 59,990 came from COTA’s local revenue.
The governor thanked the COTA administration, staff and drivers for playing [beneficial] Role in CNMI’s response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“You have reinforced the transit [to] transport our people, our tourists or our visitors, partners, military, and whatever, from the airport to quarantine [site]. They did a phenomenal job so hats off to them. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made [made] in the past year and a half, ”he said.