Rosselló Proposes ‘Federal Opportunities Center’
LAS PIEDRAS, Puerto Rico – Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, who aspires to be the gubernatorial candidate for the New Progressive Party (NPP), on Sunday presented his project to establish a Center for Federal Opportunities, which he said would “maximize the resources we can redirect toward Puerto Rico.”
The politician highlighted four avenues for the economic development of the island: investment, export, credit and federal transfers.
“Some of the opportunities found in [his Puerto Rico Map of Assets] that is under development is the high potential for federal funds and benefits that we can compete for. Puerto Rico is 49th out of 51 U.S. jurisdictions competing for federal funding. We only compete in 214 of the 841 available programs, failing to receive over a billion dollars,” he said.
The candidate campaigned in Las Piedras, Humacao and Naguabo this weekend. “Some of the proposals we have identified for regional strategic projects have a high potential to qualify for competitive federal opportunities that pay up to $4 for every dollar the local government invests,” he said.
He proposed that “if we focus funds on exploiting these opportunities, we will generate greater economic activity while producing more and better services for our Puerto Rican society.”
Rosselló noted that “Puerto Rico faces disadvantages in its maximization of federal resources. Our structure is not designed to maximize the securing of those resources. Clearly, we are not taking advantage of many benefits due to lack of capacity and compliance.”
He said the center would “undoubtedly help our economy, and also important areas such as education and healthcare,” explaining that the idea is not to focus solely at the state government level, but also to expand efforts for municipalities and non-governmental organizations.
“The center will help provide agencies, municipalities and civic entities that receive funds with technical expertise, matching funds and the information necessary to meet performance expectations and expand their opportunities. It will even be serving those seeking internships, jobs, a home, movables and services that the federal government can provide,” he explained.
Rosselló also spoke about how a few months ago he proposed the concept of a joint commission for the management of the debt.
“I posited three specific proposals to the [U.S.] executive branch. Standing out among them is for the federal government to allow Puerto Rico’s participation in its $450 billion goods and services budget,” he said, adding that Puerto Rico currently receives only 0.2% of that budget. And, “proportionally, Puerto Rico is supposed to receive 1.1% of that budget. Since we are not a state, we are at a competitive disadvantage. If increased to 0.5%, this could represent a direct injection of over $1.5 billion to our economy and 40,000 jobs.”
“These measures are necessary now, as we continue strengthening the struggle to make Puerto Rico a sovereign state of the United States of America,” the gubernatorial hopeful said.