Economic Development secretary urges infrastructure reform
SAN JUAN –– Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said Wednesday that Puerto Rico needs to work on its economic development plan for the next six months and use the experience of Hurricane María to transform its infrastructure.
“Puerto Rico is a new place after Hurricane María. That is the reality,” he said.
Laboy said that right now, he has been holding meetings with different private sector groups like the Manufacturers Association, the Chamber of Commerce, MIDA, the United Retailers Association and the Association of Products Made in Puerto Rico to coordinate efforts to stabilize the island after the hurricane but “we should be working with economic development plans for the next six months.”
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has publicly said he asked the federal government to inject over a billion dollars to Puerto Rico that are needed to rebuild infrastructure “but I said we should transform infrastructure instead of rebuild it,” Laboy said.
While Laboy said Puerto Rico needs to highlight its economic incentives, that it is part of the United States, its climate and quality of its working force to attract investors, it also needs to modernize its infrastructure to become sustainable.
“We have to use this historic juncture to transform our infrastructure. That will be the key. All efforts should be headed in that direction,” he said.
He expressed hope that following the visit of President Trump Tuesday to see first-hand the damage caused by María, Congress will allocate more federal emergency funding for the island.