The Puerto Rico Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCPR) recently presented its Board of Directors for 2020, chaired by Umberto J. Donato.
In his inauguration message to members and top government officials, Donato unveiled the trade group’s work plan for 2020, which focuses on disaster recovery and reconstruction-related initiatives and projects after 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and María and the earthquakes of 2020.
“It is critical to speed up the disbursement of federal funds assigned to Puerto Rico,” said Donato.
In this sense, AGCPR has been actively advocating for the agile disbursement of federal recovery funds; and, in collaboration of the national chapter AGC of America, is promoting initiatives in the U.S. Congress to communicate and defend the needs and rights of Puerto Rico residents.
AGCPR’s working plan for 2020 also includes initiatives to improve the quality of life in Puerto Rico including:
- Promote formal construction according to code.
- Improve planning and permitting mechanisms.
- Professionalization of the construction industry (both at an individual and company level).
- Modernize infrastructure by building safer and more resilient installations.
- Develop a business environment that promote the values of fairness, uniformity and certainty.
- Promote the participation of women in construction.
In terms of public policy, AGCPR continues to advocate for the annulment of Executive Order 2018-033 that increased the minimum wage salary to $15/hour for construction workers in projects financed with Puerto Rico government funds.
“We insist that EO 2018-033 is negative for the construction industry and other sectors of the economy, such as tourism, agriculture and restaurant, among other,” Donato said. “It also limits the long-term capacity of the government and the private industry to invest in Puerto Rico.”
AGCPR urged the Puerto Rico Labor Department to complete the analysis regarding the impact of said mandate and to make a fair decision that supports the wellbeing of the people of Puerto Rico and development on the island.
Meanwhile, AGCPR is also working with the General Services Administration to develop a uniform set of rules for government purchases and contracting that will allow the implementation of Act 73-2019 for the Centralization of Government Purchases; and continues to actively defend the contracting of local construction companies and workers to undertake reconstruction projects by complying with the Stafford Act, allocating more funds for projects through local offices of federal agencies, and right sizing projects to increase the participation of local companies.