Planning Board holding public hearings to evaluate gov’t investment program
By The Star Staff
The Planning Board will hold public hearings this week to evaluate the Four-Year Investment Program (PICA by its Spanish acronym) for fiscal years 2022 through 2026.
“This program generally contains the social and economic goals and objectives of the government of Puerto Rico for the next four years,” Planning Board Chairman Julio Lassús Ruiz said. “It also contains the main programs and activities to be carried out by government agencies that are supported by the general fund of the budget, in order to achieve these goals and objectives in sectoral and functional terms.”
Lassús Ruiz added that “the PICA document is a dynamic and comprehensive planning instrument that makes it possible to ensure the financing of programs and projects in all their stages of development.”
“In addition, it promotes the continuity and stability of [those programs and projects] within the context of prevailing resource limitations,” he said.
The document divides the island into 11 functional areas for planning purposes. The functional areas are Aguadilla, Arecibo, Caguas, Cayey, Fajardo, Guayama, Humacao, Manatí, Mayagüez, Ponce and San Juan.
It provides a description of characteristics each area including population, resources, needs and potentialities.
The document takes into account the government’s fiscal and economic priority work agenda, which will be supported mainly by the injection of federal funds for the island’s recovery. The agenda entails the rehabilitation of urban areas; increased broadband internet access; development of the former Roosevelt Roads naval base; construction of the new trauma hospital in the Medical Center; improvements to the trauma hospital in Mayagüez; extension of PR-10, PR-5 and PR-22; economic development of Vieques and Culebra; development of the Puerto Las Américas in Ponce; and development of Bahía Urbana in San Juan.
The document concludes that it will be possible to increase the positive impact of spending on infrastructure by: eliminating or delaying non-priority projects in order to concentrate public resources on projects with the highest impact; improving efficiency in infrastructure maintenance by incorporating providers dedicated to preventive maintenance; achieving efficiency in the investment in capital improvement through the centralized and expeditious solution of permits; and increasing the use of available federal funds and increasing the use of private funds in improved public-private partnerships.
The public hearings will be held virtually through the TEAMS application on March 29 and March 30 at 10 a.m. Citizens interested in participating in the hearings can access them at the following link: https://jp.pr.gov/index.php/vistas-publicas-virtuales/.
Comments can be submitted directly to the Planning Board offices located on the 16th floor of the Roberto Sánchez Government Center (formerly Minillas) or may be sent via e-mail to the Planning Board using firstname.lastname@example.org. The draft of the PICA 2022-2026 document is available through the Planning Board website: www.jp.pr.gov.