• The Star Staff

Transfer of Maritime Transportation Authority property in Fajardo to municipality proposed

By John McPhaul


House Minority Leader Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Núñez proposed late last week to facilitate the transfer of the old facilities of the Maritime Transportation Authority (ATM by its Spanish initials) in Fajardo.

For the purpose of promoting economic development in the region, the representative for District 36, which includes the municipalities of Río Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Vieques and Culebra, met Friday with Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá Batiz and Fajardo Mayor José “Joey” Meléndez Méndez to discuss a possible transfer.

“The ATM facilities in the municipality of Fajardo have been out of use since the transfer of operations to the area of the former United States Navy Base [Roosevelt Roads] in the municipality of Ceiba,” Méndez Núñez said following the meeting. “These facilities have a unique development potential in the eastern region of the island and the municipality of Fajardo has recognized this possibility, and that is why we are assisting in the conversations to transfer these facilities to the municipal council so that a rehabilitation program can be implemented and developed.”

“We are going on three years that the ATM terminal in Fajardo has not been used. Any facility that is not used for a long period like this tends to deteriorate,” the former House speaker added. “That is why it is imperative that they pass into the hands of the municipality, which already has a novel integrated development platform for that area, emphasizing tourism. To do this, the Ports Authority has to outline a program that makes the transfer feasible.”

In October 2018, all ATM operations at the Fajardo terminal ceased, and personnel and vessels were transferred to the new terminal number two at Roosevelt Roads.

Méndez Núñez said the former dock has many uses and the municipal administration has made known, since the middle of last year, its desire to develop the entire Maternillo neighborhood, including the old boat terminal, establishing new businesses and green areas, among other things.

He announced that he will be conducting negotiations with the relevant agencies to complete the transfer of the old ATM terminal and the support facilities as soon as possible.

The facilities include the terminal and the ticket office, as well as the dock and the parts and mechanics warehouse, among other things.

Also present at the meeting, held at the Fajardo City Hall, was Carolina District Sen. Marissa “Marissita” Jiménez Santoni.