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.

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