The San Juan Daily Star
COR3 reports progress in reconstruction projects
By The Star Staff
Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3) Executive Director Manuel A. Laboy Rivera noted in a recent report that the number of reconstruction projects underway due to earthquake damage continues to rise.
The information comes from the Quarterly Progress Report (QPR), consisting of data from officials who lead reconstruction efforts in municipalities, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
“Last year, we had three permanent works projects under development, while [currently] we already have 140 projects, amounting to $44.1 million, in one of the execution phases,” Laboy Rivera said in the report. “Of these, 87 projects valued at $16.7 million are under construction, and 22 developments estimated at $8 million are in the design-build acquisition stage.”
The officials reported in the July to September QPR that they completed 26 projects after an investment of approximately $5 million.
“We continue to comply with Governor [Pedro] Pierluisi’s mandate to expedite and ensure work throughout the island,” Laboy Rivera said.
By way of example, among the completed critical infrastructure projects are 12 reconstruction works carried out by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority at the Costa Sur power plant at a cost of $3.4 million. The projects include the recently completed construction of two tanks for demineralized water.
The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA), meanwhile, completed a sewer project in Villa del Carmen in Ponce, for which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) obligated $891,600. PRASA has completed nine projects after investing $1.3 million in FEMA funds.
In addition, after an investment of $7.5 million, the island Department of Education (DE) completed the construction of a modular school on the land occupied by the Agripina Seda campus in Guánica. That project was inaugurated last year by the governor. Meanwhile, the DE continues rebuilding 36 additional structures for which the federal agency obligated $1.1 million.
“At the moment, we have allocated $807 million represented in some 750 projects to help rebuild the affected communities in the country’s south,” said José Baquero, FEMA’s federal disaster recovery coordinator. “This new year, we renew our promise to ensure Puerto Rico has the necessary resources to fully recover.”
Among the projects in progress is the demolition of the Guánica Government Center, which will soon begin its reconstruction after receiving an allocation of $8.8 million from FEMA. In addition, the University of Puerto Rico is repairing its campuses in Utuado, Mayagüez and Ponce, with an approximate investment of $1.2 million.
The municipality of Ponce, meanwhile, is working on the reconstruction of Francisco “Paquito” Montaner Stadium with a federal contribution of $4.4 million.
There are 27 projects in municipalities, government agencies and nonprofit entities, with an obligation of around $22.4 million. Those projects in the acquisition, design or permitting stages will begin construction in the first semester of 2023.
“During the next year, the COR3 team will continue to work with the recipients and FEMA to expedite the reconstruction of the infrastructure affected by the earthquakes and past hurricanes,” Laboy Rivera said. “Now with the availability of the Working Capital Advance pilot program, we project an increase in permanent projects under development. We continue to comply with the commitment that Governor Pedro Pierluisi made with the people to implement efficient measures that positively impact the progress of the reconstruction of the island.”