How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact Puerto Rico
In November, President Joe Biden (D) signed into law the $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The act, which received support in Congress from both Republicans and Democrats, is the most significant long-term investment in the country’s infrastructure in nearly a century. President Biden has vowed that the act will give rise to “a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth” across all corners of the United States and its territories.
Specifically in Puerto Rico, the new legislation aims to address a systemic lack of investment in infrastructure. This comes after the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Puerto Rico a D- grade on its annual infrastructure report card. The act will allocate money to various sources to combat the issue. For instance, Puerto Rico can expect to receive $900 million to rebuild roads and highways and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs. Currently, there are 282 bridges and 1,492 miles of highway in Puerto Rico that the federal government considers to be in poor condition.
Additionally, Puerto Rico is to receive nearly $456 million over the next five years to improve public transportation options for all residents. As part of President Biden’s climate-minded plan to develop a national network of electric vehicle chargers, Puerto Rico will receive $13.6 million over five years. This money will go towards the expansion of a system of chargers. Furthermore, the act promises a minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage for every resident. Currently, nearly 40% of Puerto Rican households do not have an internet subscription.
Puerto Rico would expect to receive $455 million over a five-year period to improve water infrastructure with the goal of ensuring clean drinking water as a right. In addition, the act aims to strengthen infrastructure for extreme weather events, to which Puerto Rico is particularly susceptible. This investment comes in the form of financing of $3.5 billion in weatherization. Finally, as part of President Biden’s goal to catch up to international competition in airport development, over the next five years Puerto Rico will receive $102 million for airport infrastructure.
Overall, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has the potential to create a significant impact in Puerto Rico by allocating large sums of money to improve roads, bridges, highways, airports, and various technologies. The act aims to impact residents by upgrading all of these services and providing an economic boost through the creation of new jobs.