Puerto Rico government officials announced Monday the first six public-private partnerships to modernize and diversify power generation and transmission; transform the quality of life of the public university system; fix parkings; and to improve and expand the island’s maritime transportation system.
During a news conference, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and P3 Authority Executive Director Omar J. Marrero said the projects announced would create 7,000 direct and indirect jobs, fetch a potential investment of between $300 million to $400 million in construction and generate savings of more than $50 million annually, and increase government revenues through tax revenue.
“In the situation in which we find ourselves after Hurricane María, the P3 tool allows us to modernize and transform Puerto Rico, with private capital as a spearhead given the government’s fiscal crisis,” Rosselló said.
“The P3 projects we are announcing today will create thousands of jobs while adding funds to the government’s coffers and ensure lower costs for the government of Puerto Rico,” he added.
In the energy sector, three private initiative projects were presented as unsolicited proposals.
The “Alternative Energy Project” is a hydroelectric P3 that seeks to create energy at a lower cost while making generation more flexible. This P3 is in compliance with the fiscal plans of Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. In addition, this new investment project would generate savings for the government and consumers, government officials said.
Meanwhile, the “Energy Stability Project” improves the reliability and efficiency of electricity generation. It also increases the geographical diversification and environmental compliance in the generation and stabilization of energy.
In addition, the “Energy Diversification Project” can generate electricity by using liquefied gas, located in northern Puerto Rico. This would increase the generation in this area of the island in a more economical way. The project ensures diversification of energy sources and greater geographic distribution of generation, the government explained.
The P3 Authority had identified three additional projects and is issuing draft Requests for Qualifications from interested companies, while determining industry interest.
As for maritime transportation, the government is looking to create a P3 for ferry service in Cataño, Vieques and Culebra, and a possible new route from Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba that would be 31 percent shorter than the route between Fajardo and the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra.
This project includes modern and technological ticket offices, service reliability, fewer government subsidies and increased support for the tourism industry.
To improve the quality of life in the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus, the “Student Life Project” was designed to finance 500 housing units with better facilities and pedestrian connection. In addition, the student center would be renewed and mixed-use buildings with commercial activity would be created.
In addition, the “Parking Modernization Project” includes the optimization of government facilities with a revenue profit-sharing method so that specialized entities manage and invest in their improvement. This project would reduce government spending in these facilities.
“I am pleased that the P3 Authority team has continued its work of identifying projects during these difficult times to accelerate the recovery process,” Marrero said.
“The combination of the projects we have already identified, plus more proposals from the private sector, can be a new action plan for the Authority to address the state of emergency following Hurricane María,” Marrero said.
“An evaluation and competitive process begins now to choose the entities that offer Puerto Rico the best benefit,” he added.