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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor says reconstruction to take 7 years

Plays down fiscal board report’s mention of slowness in federal fund disbursements

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Tuesday it may take seven more years to finish Puerto Rico’s reconstruction following the ravages of hurricanes and other natural events.

“Those FEMA projects are long-term. Like I’ve always said, compare it to New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, and New Orleans, these projects take many years. Reconstruction takes many years,” the governor said. “Right now my estimate is that the reconstruction will be fully completed in a term of about seven additional years. That is being very accurate. I don’t want to create unreasonable expectations.”

Pierluisi made his remarks following a Financial Oversight and Management Board report criticizing the administration for its slowness in disbursing federal funds to help Puerto Rico rebuild its infrastructure ravaged by natural disasters and to deal with the effects of COVID-19.

Pierluisi said he interpreted the oversight board report as a warning, more than as a criticism of his administration, that if federal funds are not used diligently, they could be lost.

Recently, the island returned some $23 million in unused American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. Pierluisi said the money went to private schools that did not present the required documentation for Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements.

“Not one penny of federal money earmarked for our schools was wasted,” the governor said.

Pierluisi noted that the construction industry in Puerto Rico is at full capacity. Still, there is a labor shortage, so he has invited mainland construction companies to participate in the reconstruction process.

The governor also highlighted the creativity of certain southern cities hit by earthquakes in organizing consortiums to manage reconstruction work instead of relying on the central government.

He also noted that in the south, after the effects of the pandemic, children resumed face-to-face education quickly.

“We acted quickly,” Pierluisi said. “We built modular schools that can be used for up to 20 years even though they are temporary.”

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1 comentario

10 ago 2023

Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia needs to be held accountable for the wasted $23 Million dollars that should have gone to Puerto Rico's PUBLIC schools. It's Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia's top heavy, over administrated, Government that was responsible for making sure the paperwork was 100% correct to receive the $23 Million dollars for PUBLIC Schools and Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia failed. There is absolutely no excuse for Puerto Rico and Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia's Government allowing $23 Million dollars to go unused while PUBLIC Schools (and Public School CHILDREN) get substandard funding. If I were a Conspiracy Theorist, I would argue that Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia is deliberately sabotaging the Puerto Rico Public School System. For an Island 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, Puerto…

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