U.S. and Puerto Rican transportation infrastructure industry leaders recently met to sign a memorandum of understanding to strengthen Puerto Rican infrastructure and improve the commonwealth’s economy.
Signees included U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau, Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Javier Garcia Padilla and Miguel Torres Diaz, Puerto Rican secretary of transportation and public works.
The Island of Puerto Rico needs an improved transportation infrastructure system to grow economically, Foxx said in a USDOT blog post. National and local businesses need strong, safe transportation methods to export and import goods, and local residents also need good infrastructure so they can reach their daily destinations, whether it's school or workplaces, Foxx said.
The agreement gives Puerto Rico access to approximately $400 million in federal funds that can be used to generate jobs and encourage economic development through infrastructure projects, Foxx said.
With the signing, Puerto Rico also intends to improve its billing procedures as it seeks to raise its capacity for sustaining and creating best practices, such as decreasing the time needed to pay contractors and implementing electronic funds transfer, Foxx said.
Under the agreement, Federal Highway Administration officials will authorize toll credits specifically for state matches. This will help Puerto Rico take full advantage of its new access to U.S. aid, Foxx said.