The Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority board recently decided to move forward with the evaluation of four new construction priority projects, namely the commuter train from Caguas to San Juan, a new women’s correctional facility, a new men’s correctional facility, and the conversion to natural gas of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority power plants in San Juan and Palo Seco, government officials said Wednesday.
When combined, the four projects would entail investments of between $780 million and $900 million, as the P3 Authority has previously confirmed.
“Through this determination, the Board of Directors is getting a thorough evaluation of four high-priority projects of our administration underway. These priority projects are addressed at furthering economic development and improving Puerto Rico’s infrastructure,” P3 Board Chairman Javier Ferrer, who is also president of the Government Development Bank.
“These four priority projects seek to positively affect different areas of the island’s infrastructure and, thus, improve the mass transportation system by connecting the Municipality of Caguas and adjacent towns with the San Juan metropolitan area; improve correctional facilities, which support prisoner rehabilitation programs; and carry on with PREPA’s conversion to natural gas to meet federal environmental regulations and reduce oil dependency,” he said.
“Certainly, at the [P3 Authority], we’re pleased and optimistic with the work we’ve undertaken in connection with these projects,” Ferrer said.
As part of the legal requirements, P3 Authority Executive Director Grace Santana said after the process of request for proposals and evaluation was completed, contracting financial consultants for the Caguas-San Juan commuter train project was approved, and the financial consultants will be under contract on or before June 30.
The commuter train would require a $400 million investment to be split between the municipality, the Department of Transportation and Public Works and the Highway Administration.
As to the construction of adult male and adult women correctional facilities, proposals were submitted by financial consultants and are now under evaluation.
The women’s correctional facility to replace the current one in use in Vega Alta entails an alliance to design, build, finance and operate a new facility with a capacity for 750 inmates. The project proposed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is estimated to cost about $100 million.
Meanwhile, the proposal to build and operate a maximum-security prison for men with a capacity for 1,000 inmates includes an estimated cost of $100 million.Grace Santana, head of the P3 Authority
Santana explained that once the financial advisory contracts for the projects are awarded, the process moves forward to the phase of analysis and preparation of the desirability and convenience studies required under the P3 legal structure.
“We’re committed to advancing these projects, which in addition to their social contribution, will bring an injection of millions of dollars to the local economy and will help us achieve our objective of creating new jobs. That is our goal,” Santana concluded.
Finally, the proposal for PREPA is estimated at between $180 million and $300 million, and would the agency to comply with Mercury and Air Toxic Standards regulations, while stabilizing the cost of energy in Puerto Rico. Furthermore, the agency would also supply natural gas to co-generating facilities in Aguirre and Costa Sur in the south.