By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia reviewed his administration’s achievements of the past three years over the weekend, highlighting the reduction in crime, the transformation of the energy sector, salary justice for the workforce, the renovation of school buildings, and reconstruction works.
The governor highlighted sustained growth in the island economy during the past three years, a positive 10-year outlook, and the strategic and timely investment of federal and state funds to promote economic development, record-setting tourism numbers, construction, manufacturing, and the technology sector.
“Today, we have 110,000 additional jobs and the largest workforce in 14 years, when there were 500,000 more people in Puerto Rico,” Pierluisi said. “Additionally, unemployment is at 5.7 percent, the lowest rate in our history. We promoted economic growth and ended government bankruptcy. We fought federal bureaucracy and released reconstruction funds. We improved the salaries of our public servants and our workforce, and we increased aid to our families by improving the Vital [health care] plan, increasing the credit for work, and granting credit for dependent minors for over 300,000 families.”
“Now, we are going for more because we want to ensure that this progress impacts each of our citizens,” stated Pierluisi, highlighting the collaboration of citizens, public servants and the private sector.
In education, the governor highlighted the renovation of school buildings, the implementation of extended hours in the public system, and the increase in funds for childcare centers. Regarding security, he noted that since 2021, the homicide rate has dropped almost 30 percent.
Regarding the island’s reconstruction, Pierluisi noted that before his administration took office, only 81 projects had been completed. Over the past three years, however, nearly 2,400 projects have been completed and more than 2,600 are under construction with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.
Meanwhile, of $90 million disbursed from the Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery program when his administration began, more than $2.6 billion has already been used. Some 6,000 homes have been rebuilt or rehabilitated, around 8,500 families have received assistance in buying their homes, and more than 4,700 social interest homes have been built in many municipalities on the island.
Regarding road infrastructure, Pierluisi asserted that 178 state roads have already been impacted by the Department of Transportation and Public Works’ Changing Lanes program. There are more than 600 road and bridge repairs or construction projects. The Aqueduct and Sewer Authority is equally active, with 600 works underway around the island.
The governor also emphasized that the transformation of the electrical energy system is underway with 230 improvement projects to the electrical grid and power plants, as well as renewable energy projects at the industrial level, which will produce 1,500 megawatts of generation and will add 500 megawatts of battery storage capacity by 2025. Furthermore, Pierluisi said, Puerto Rico ranks sixth in United States jurisdictions in residential and commercial solar systems, which already exceed 100,000 on the island.
“We must continue the work of reconstruction and energy transformation, give tax relief to our people and continue facilitating economic development,” Pierluisi said. “We are going to expand services to our seniors. We must redouble our efforts to retain and attract doctors in Puerto Rico, strengthen our health system and continue increasing mental health services. Likewise, we are developing a comprehensive plan to combat violence at its roots, in which we must unite as a people.”
The governor added that the fight for the equality that Puerto Ricans deserve as U.S. citizens was redoubled and highlighted the filing in the U.S. Senate of the Puerto Rico Status Act with non-colonial and non-territorial options.
“I am focused on continuing to work for you,” he said. “I know that you want a stable government that continues to improve its services, that helps you achieve your goals and that meets the needs of our people.”