Groundbreaking for Vieques hospital set for today
By The Star Staff
Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón on Tuesday applauded the fact that construction of the Vieques hospital is finally to begin after six years of waiting, and urged speed in completing the project.
Her remarks came prior to today’s groundbreaking, in which Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell will participate.
“I am happy that finally the people of Vieques and their mayor, José Corcino, can see the federal funds in action, so we advocate for the construction of a new health center on Isla Nena and I hope the hospital can open its doors as soon as possible, offering the excellent service that residents and visitors need and have been waiting for years for,” González Colón said.
On Sept. 19, the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to which the resident commissioner belongs, held a hearing entitled “FEMA: The Current State of Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery.”
There, González Colón directly rebuked Criswell about the reconstruction projects that remain to be financed, the delays in execution and the changes in costs that continue to delay the processes of vital projects in Vieques.
The resident commissioner noted at the hearing that the Vieques hospital was originally expected to cost $59 million and is now estimated to cost $85 million, making it more difficult for the entities that have to provide the matching of funds to do so. The sports complex, the service center at what was once the old hospital, and several other components will require reassessments, González Colón said, recalling what was observed at a subcommittee staff visit that her office hosted in August 2022.