US pledges $1.14B for transportation projects in territories

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. government announced Thursday that it would invest $1.14 billion to repair and rebuild highways, roads and bridges in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

Over the next five years, Puerto Rico would receive more than $900 million while the U.S. territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands would receive $240 million.

“These funds will help make life better,” said Stephanie Pollack, deputy administrator of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.

Puerto Rico is scheduled to receive $173 million in the first year and the other U.S. territories a total of nearly $46 million.

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said the money would be used for construction projects, guardrails, reflectors, lighting, signage and other things.

The announcement comes one day after a federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances released a fiscal plan for the island’s Highways and Transportation Authority in which it recommended a more than 8% yearly increase in tolls through fiscal year 2024 to improve road conditions.

The board stated that only 13% of Puerto Rico’s highways are in good condition, compared with a median of 84% in the U.S. mainland. It also noted that the island’sroad fatality rates are more than 40% higher than the U.S. median.

Panorama Hispano is the regional news and information newspaper for Hispanic and other diverse communities.

US Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in the United States numbering 54.2 million as of July 2014. Serving: Buffalo, Rochester, Fredonia, Niagara Falls, NY and Erie, PA. Outside our Market area: Visit our affiliate at: http://www.impremedia.com/

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