The San Juan Daily Star
Island to receive $92 million in federal funds for public transit
By John McPhaul
As part of the funds allocated under the budget laws and the bipartisan infrastructure act, Puerto Rico will receive $91 million in federal funds that will help modernize and expand public transportation services for residents of large and small communities alike, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced Wednesday after receiving the formal notification from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
“Ensuring a reliable infrastructure for the island is one of my priorities as a member of Congress; this makes us more attractive for investment, promotes economic development and improves the quality of life,” the resident commissioner said in a written statement. “As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee [in the U.S. House of Representatives], which I joined precisely to advance this priority, I continue to promote that Puerto Rico has the tools and is on par in growth and efficiency with the states of the nation. The funds that we announce today are part of that effort, these funds were approved in a bipartisan manner with an impact throughout the nation.”
González Colón pointed out that thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law, whose official title is the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, it was possible to increase several of the DOT formulas to state agencies, allowing them to buy new buses, attend to overdue repairs, modernize fleets and make the transition to new technologies. In addition, she said, manufacturing in the United States is promoted under the Buy America law, which will apply to steel, iron and other materials used in public transportation projects that receive federal assistance.
As reported, Puerto Rico will receive a total of $91,989,690 in financing through Federal Transit Administration (FTA) formula programs in fiscal year 2022, which includes financing from the Trust Fund’s Mass Transportation Account and advance allocations provided by the bipartisan infrastructure act.
The almost $92 million includes all the amounts assigned to the island, including those assigned to urbanized areas, which would be $53,837,314 for San Juan and $4,191,037 for Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastián.
The Urbanized Area Formula Funding program makes available federal resources for transit capital and operational assistance in urbanized areas and for transportation-related planning. Urbanized areas are those with 200,000 or more residents according to the Census Bureau.