The Puerto Rico Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America recently unveiled its proposal for the “Revitalization of vital infrastructure on the island,” which it will submit to the Congressional Task Force, the Fiscal Control Board and the Revitalization Coordinator that will be appointed under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA.)
The proposal was developed by the AGC in consultation with the principal local government agencies with direct impact on the island’s infrastructure, said AGC President Neyssa Varela.
The proposal lists in detail the projects that must be addressed under Title V of PROMESA regarding the revitalization of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and establishes a procedure for expedite permits.
“What makes these proposal different from others is that it can be implemented in stages as soon as the funds for the projects become available,” said Varela.
More than 200 projects of vital infrastructure projects — addressing water, transportation, energy and housing — are included in the proposal that entails a total investment of more than $3.7 billion.
Moreover, they will impact the lives of thousands of families and create over 75,000 jobs directly, indirectly and induced, the AGC said.
“Puerto Rico needs to ignite its construction sector and update its infrastructure if it wants to move forward. Without modern infrastructure the island will not be able to attract new investment or support economic and population growth,” Varela said.
In addition, the AGC’s proposal includes a plan to establish a “Bidding Preference for Local Vendors Procedure” to give priority to local general contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers of services and materials. This initiative was developed after the one that is currently used in the state of Florida.
With its proposal, the AGC is “urges” those in charge of constructing a new Puerto Rico —both at a federal and local levels — to:
- Make critical infrastructure projects a priority for the revitalization of Puerto Rico, ignite economic activity and create new jobs;
- Establish a uniform bidding process for state and municipal public projects, based on the process currently used by federal government agencies;
- Enforce the requirements of Puerto Rico’s Law 131 of Sept. 2, 2010 that establishes uniform general conditions for public works contracting; and,
- Establish a mechanism to guarantee the availability of funds and prompt payment to contractors in the construction of public works.
The construction industry has an immediate and strong impact on the general economic activity of the island, the trade group said, noting that for every $1 million invested in construction 22 direct, indirect and induced jobs are created. The multiplier effect of the construction industry is $6.80 per $1 invested.
“AGC-PR is the only association in Puerto Rico’s construction industry with a team of professional lobbyists in Capitol Hill specialized in construction and infrastructure matters,” Varela concluded.