Sunday, November 17, 2019

Center for New Economy launches tool to track federal contracts for Post-Hurricane reconstruction

By on October 15, 2019

Screenshot (Courtesy / CNE)

SAN JUAN — The Center for a New Economy (CNE), a Puerto Rico-based think tank, announced Tuesday a tool to help examine post-disaster reconstruction contracting in Puerto Rico.

The new Federal Post-María Contracting Monitoring Dashboard gives reporters, academics, organizations and individuals the ability to easily access all available data relating to federal post-María reconstruction contracting in Puerto Rico.

The dashboard shows which companies have received federal contracts, how much money they have received, and what kind of work they are doing, among other details. To provide a better understanding of the forces shaping Puerto Rico’s reconstruction process, CNE researchers conducted a workshop with local investigative journalists to demonstrate how to use the platform, access the detailed infographics and analyze the compiled data.

During the workshop, CNE Research Director Deepak Lamba-Nieves and Research Associate Raúl Santiago-Bartolomei explained how the dashboard grants users access to information on federal contracting trends for reconstruction works after María. The platform uses data from www.usaspending.gov and allows users to filter data according to their interests and download information.

CNE researchers conducted a workshop with local investigative journalists to demonstrate how to use the platform, access detailed infographics, and analyze the compiled data. (Courtesy / CNE)

“Despite federal provisions encouraging local contracting in post-disaster contexts, this has not been the case in Puerto Rico after Hurricane María. The analysis we published last year on federal contracting trends for reconstruction works is still relevant: 90% of federal reconstruction contracts have gone to US-based companies. Now we’ve developed a digital tool that will allow users to conduct in-depth research on this issue. We convened a training for investigative journalists interested in Puerto Rico’s reconstruction to learn how to use the digital platform to augment their reporting on this topic,” explained Lamba-Nieves.

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