As a way to contribute to Puerto Rico’s recovery in the wake of Hurricane María, Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico (“metropistas”) investment partners Abertis and Goldman Sachs announced a $1 million donation toward hurricane relief efforts on the island.
Metropistas is the private consortium that operates and maintains Puerto Rico’s highways PR-22 and PR-5, a per a long-term public-private partnership agreement dated 2011.
The donation will be channeled through three non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) that have been actively involved in various capacities in Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief efforts, namely, Unidos por Puerto Rico, the American Red Cross, and Team Rubicon, each of which will receive an equal share of the total, said Gonzalo Alcalde, CEO of metropistas.
“Puerto Rico is home to our associates, their families, their friends and the thousands of Puerto Ricans who use highways PR-22 and PR-5 every day,” he said.
“We feel we have a responsibility towards them and a genuine concern for their well-being, and that of all the island’s residents, during these unprecedented times of need. We stand fully vested in Puerto Rico and remain steadfastly committed to its bright future now, during the process of rebuilding that lays ahead and beyond,” said Alcalde.
The $1 million donation will be evenly distributed among the three nonprofits identified by metropistas, including Unidos por Puerto Rico, an initiative spearheaded by Puerto Rico’s First Lady Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector. That initiative has already collected some $11 million to aid hurricane victims throughout the island.
metropistas partners’ monetary contribution will also benefit hurricane victims through the American Red Cross, which mobilizes volunteers to provide shelter, food and emotional support to hurricane victims, and Team Rubicon, an NGO which unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to deploy emergency response teams rapidly, distribute medical supplies and help in other areas of need.
Both NGO’s are currently working on-site in coordination with federal, local, corporate and community partners.
This contribution builds on the prior support of Goldman Sachs and its employees, who previously committed a little more than $500,000 to Hurricane María relief efforts in Puerto Rico through grant recommendations from Goldman Sachs Gives, the firm’s donor advised fund, employee donations and the firm’s Matching Gift Program.
Goldman Sachs employees are also volunteering their time via the firm’s Community TeamWorks initiative, including an upcoming service day at its New York headquarters to pack meals that will be shipped to Puerto Rico.
“We are aware that the urgent need for aid is far reaching, so we wanted to make sure that our donation was channeled through established entities that are working on the ground and can have an immediate impact on the Island’s recovery efforts by helping people directly,” added Alcalde.
metropistas began its damage assessment, debris removal and rehabilitation efforts in highways PR-22 and PR-5 on Sept. 21, immediately following Hurricane María’s landfall. Both roads were back in operation on Monday, Sept. 25th, he said.
Highway PR-22, also known as the José de Diego Expressway, is the busiest toll road on the island. PR-5 is a four-kilometer extension of the PR-22 running through the San Juan metropolitan area in Bayamón.
“Like almost everyone in Puerto Rico, our operation was also significantly impacted by Hurricane María but we had a job to do and, thanks to our team, we managed to do it quickly,” said Alcalde who thanked his team of “great professionals and human beings who made it possible on such a short period of time for us to have both PR- 22 and PR-5 operational at a critical time when road infrastructure is paramount to recovery efforts.”
The company has also been charging toll fees to highway users since after the storm, Alcalde confirmed.