Puerto Rico seeks billions in disaster aid for transportation infrastructure

The $5.84 billion in funds for transportation needs on the island is part of the governor's request for $94.4 billion in total disaster relief funding

November 20, 2017
PR bridge

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is asking the Trump administration and Congress to provide Puerto Rico with more than $5.84 billion in disaster aid just to cover repairs to the island territory's hurricane-damaged roads, bridges, seaports and airports.

That is part of a total $94.4 billion aid request he submitted Nov. 13 in a letter to President Trump, of which $31 billion is to rebuild housing, nearly $18 billion for the power grid and resiliency upgrades, and $15 billion for healthcare.

The governor is seeking almost $4.5 billion for road and bridge needs, and nearly $1.35 billion for costs related to seaports and airports.

While the governor recognized that an Oct. 26 aid package was "a critical first step," he told the president that "as you are aware, much more remains to be done in order to stabilize Puerto Rico and set the island on a path to full recovery and reconstruction."

The White House has not yet asked Congress for another emergency supplemental appropriation to deal with disaster costs, although lawmakers have said they expect one. A group of Senate Democrats asked the administration to include substantial additional funds for disaster-struck highway, transit, aviation and waterway facilities.

The governor's request said the result of being struck in quick succession by both hurricanes Irma and Maria was "nearly complete devastation" for the territory. The damage to roads and bridges, the governor added, continues "to render the hardest-hit areas of [the] island virtually inaccessible."

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Source: AASHTO Journal

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