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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker calls for probe of LMM airport operator 10 years into contract

Rep. Gretchen Marie Hau Irizarry

By The Star Staff

Rep. Gretchen Marie Hau Irizarry, who chairs the House Transportation, Infrastructure and Works Committee, introduced a resolution Monday for the Joint Committee on Public-Private Partnerships to probe the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport public-private partnership.

The measure calls for a probe into methodologies and the analysis carried out by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and by the Public-Private Partnerships Authority to comply with the obligation to financially and operationally audit Aerostar Airport Holdings.

“Aerostar began its 40 years of control over Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (AILMM) on February 27, 2013, with the disbursement of $615 million to the Ports Authority and annual payments of $2.5 million in the first five years, 5% of gross income in years six to 30, and so on,” the lawmaker said. “Ten years later, it is necessary for the private operator to inform the country of its plans, achievements, and challenges.”

“In addition to that, [there have been] complaints about the poor maintenance of the facilities inside and outside AILMM, [and] of the aeronautics areas,” Hau added. “The continuous robberies inside and outside the facilities, the lack of efficient air conditioning, and the alleged continual neglect in roof maintenance, causing leaks and potential problems with passenger safety, among other statements, are complaints that constantly reach the Legislative Assembly.”

On March 14, Aerostar announced the inauguration of Terminal D at a cost of about $14 million.

“There is a lack of substantive audits or other means to audit or confirm obligations under the Aerostar contract,” Hau noted. “The Legislature and the people of Puerto Rico do not have the benefit of knowing how the company has invested funds and whether the amounts come from Aerostar itself or whether they are federal funds.”

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