Puerto Rico gets $900 million in federal aid for highways
By The Star Staff
President Biden and the U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday announced more than $1.14 billion to repair and rebuild roads and bridges in Puerto Rico and four other U.S. territories – American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands – under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The total amount being made available to Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories in fiscal year (FY) 2022 is $219 million. The historic legislation will improve life for residents in Puerto Rico and the territories and create well paying jobs and economic growth, officials said at a news conference.
Specifically, it will help repair and rebuild roads and bridges, allowing for funds to be applied to climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
“This funding will help Puerto Rico and the territories improve their highway networks, stimulate economic opportunity and increase highway safety,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “Today’s funding will help move forward major repairs to highways and bridges and improve transportation systems on these islands.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide over a 14% increase in funding for Puerto Rico and the territories to make critical road and bridge investments compared to the funding provided in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. Over the five years of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Puerto Rico will receive more than $900 million and the four other territories will receive $240 million.
In FY 2022, FHWA will provide $173 million in funding for Puerto Rico and a total of nearly $46 million for the four other territories to pay for critical infrastructure needs. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century of 1998 established the Puerto Rico Highway Program. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 created the Territorial Highway Program, and subsequent legislation continued the program. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to provide dedicated funding to assist each territory in the construction and improvement of a system of arterial and collector highways, and necessary inter-island connectors.