Rosselló signs order creating construction advisory committee
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed an executive order Wednesday that would create the Construction Advisory Committee to collaborate in all infrastructure-related projects with the government.
The governor signed the order during the swearing in ceremony of Francisco Díaz Massó as president of the local chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
Rosselló had already signed an executive order creating a task force for emergency infrastructure projects as well as amending the public-private partnerships law to benefit nonprofit groups and broaden their participation.
“In the coming weeks, we will be submitting legislation that would create an expedited permitting process,” he said.
The governor spoke during the ceremony about his differences with the Financial Oversight and Management Board over the manner in which his administration would close a $7.6 billion budget gap. The board is meeting on Saturday to discuss an extension of the delivery of the fiscal plan and the stay on lawsuits against the government.
Rosselló said his administration’s view is different from the past administration’s in that he believes government needs to be shrunk, taking into account the impact on economic development, while the debt is being renegotiated. He also noted that Washington must do its part in helping Puerto Rico by giving it economic development tools. Recently he signed a fiscal law that among other things, extends the 4% tax on controlled foreign corporations and is slated to sign both the proposed labor reform and single-employer measures into law.
“We cannot make a fiscal plan that ignores economic development and social development. If we don’t have those components, then we will be in the same spot years from now,” he said.
Before Rosselló spoke, Díaz Massó said private sector and construction industry leaders support the government’s proposals to speed up the construction of critical infrastructure projects and maximize the participation of public private partnerships to finance these projects.
The contractors also lauded the governor’s executive order to create the federal opportunities center to manage and optimize the potential of federal funds in Puerto Rico, the order that declares a state of emergency of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, and requiring an expedited permit process for public infrastructure projects.
“Also, AGC-P.R. has offered to collaborate with the Government of Puerto Rico, the Federal Oversight Board and the revitalization coordinator in the process of identifying critical infrastructure projects and the initiatives needed to reactivate the construction and maintenance of Puerto Rico’s public works. AGC-P.R. expects to make public at the end of January a short list of critical infrastructure projects that should be addressed immediately,” he said.
In Washington, AGC-P.R. will advocate for the fair and equal treatment of Puerto Rico in the distribution and allocation of the proposed $1 trillion infrastructure fund proposed by President Trump. As part of this effort, AGC-P.R. sent a letter to the White House Wednesday.
“The construction sector has to be more united than ever, in order to be able to undertake this gigantic endeavor. In this sense, AGC-P.R. has adopted a proactive role to unite the industry in one voice. One voice that is strong and effective to ensure the participation of the local construction companies and suppliers in these projects that Puerto Rico urgently needs,” Díaz Massó said. “Our companies have the capacity and the experience to do what needs to be done,” he assured.