Toll collection, infrastructure and economic development on Puerto Rico Legislature’s agenda
Representative Jose Luis Rivera Guerra introduced a resolution in November 2017 to address inconsistencies in Puerto Rico’s road toll system. Dozens of vehicle owners claim to have received outrageous fines from the toll collection system, the Autoexpreso. Citizens have reported receiving notice of owing up to thousands of dollars in fines. They claim it is an injustice made by a broken system. In conjunction with Rivera’s Resolution 67, Ombudswoman Iris Miriam Ruiz Class seeks to investigate the fine collection process to better understand potential holes cracking open the system. The largest issues being that vehicle owners are not always informed when there is a toll nor when the deadline to pay is. Representative Rivera emphasized, “People should be be informed when the deadline is. The situation cannot continue to be postponed…there are people who have lost their jobs and continue to use the toll because they thought the toll was going to be free, but the toll will be charged.”
Other issues to resolve the islands’ infrastructure problems sit on the table as well. First introduced in March by Representative Maricarmen Mas Rodriguez, Measure R CO229 aims to conduct an investigation of state highway PR-354 in Mayaguez. The security of this major highway — a popular route to the Museum of Eugenio Maria de Hostos — has been under question for some time. This highway is one of the most vital to Puerto Rico’s tourism, but has long been neglected and remains in poor condition. In June, the Measure to investigate the route was referred to the Commission of Calendars and Special Rules of Debate and in November, was extended an additional 90 days for review. Final assessment of the bill remains on the legislative agenda.
Meanwhile, the Legislative Assembly is working to pass a measure that would order the Commission for Integrated Development of the Eastern Region to release a comprehensive study of the biggest economic, social, and environmental problems that Puerto Rico faces. Rep. Jacqueline Rodriguez Hernandez introduced Measure R C0002 in January in response to growing concerns over the quality of the islands’ infrastructure. The bill, if executed, would release a report on infrastructure including the vital highway PR-354, one of the principal routes for tourism. In her measure, Hernandez states the importance of maintaining tourist infrastructures in good condition, as the key to fostering Puerto Rico’s economic growth.