Gov. Luis Fortuño signed the law approving a $304 million bond issue to finance several infrastructure projects, mainly road improvements, planned throughout the island.
During a news conference in Fajardo, the governor said the goal is to provide “safe and efficient” roads.
“We all know the island’s roads are in deplorable conditions. Overuse and weather conditions contribute to its continuing deterioration. With this infusion of $304 million we will begin to give you the roads you deserve. We want streets without holes, roads that have proper signage and that will lead you from you home to the store, schools and work places quickly and safely. This is our goal,” Fortuño said.
The planned repairs will begin in the island’s mountain region, where Fortuño said roads are in most need of attention. The government has also identified several specific projects, such as the extension of Route 66 currently underway, and the flood-prone intersection of PR-3 and PR-53, into which it will pump part of the money.
“The town of Fajardo is seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Each time the river jumps its banks it leaves Fajardo completely cut off, precludes people’s daily routines like going to the hospital or a service agency,” Fajardo Mayor Aníbal Meléndez-Rivera said. “Not only this, but there are doctors who live in Naguabo and Humacao and come to work in Fajardo and the rising river makes it impossible for them to arrive, in this case it is about saving lives.”
Last week’s rains prompted the Fajardo River to overflow five times, the mayor noted.
Fortuño said the breakdown of the bond issue includes $106 million for transportation facilities, including resurfacing, improvement and restoration of more than 581 kilometers of roads and highways. The announced improvements are precisely timed to run through the 2012 elections.