Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi announced yesterday that the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the immediate implementation of a federal law that Pierluisi secured earlier this year, which will substantially facilitate the completion of flood control, harbor dredging, and other Corps of Engineers studies and projects in Puerto Rico.
Specifically, the law will reduce – and, in some cases, eliminate – the financial contribution that the island’s 78 municipalities, the central government, and non-profit organizations would otherwise be required to make in order for Corps of Engineers projects to move forward in Puerto Rico.
“Under current law, all Corps of Engineers projects require a ‘non-federal sponsor’ to contribute to the cost of planning and executing those projects. The non-federal sponsor is typically a state or territory government, or a municipality. The sponsor can also be a non-profit organization. One example is the case of Martin Peña Canal, where the sponsor is the non-profit organization ENLACE,” said Pierluisi.
“Typically, the federal government will fund between 65 percent and 80 percent of the cost of dredging projects, and 65 percent of the cost of flood control and hurricane damage control projects. The balance must be provided by the local sponsor. This can be a real impediment to action when the local sponsor faces financial challenges, as so many in Puerto Rico do,” added the Resident Commissioner.
Effectively immediately, the Jacksonville District of the Corps of Engineers, which oversees all Corps of Engineers activities in Puerto Rico, will apply a waiver of up to $455,000 for all Puerto Rico studies and projects in progress. The new waiver amount will also apply to all future studies and projects that may be commenced in Puerto Rico.
“For example, if there is a Corps of Engineers study or project in Puerto Rico that would normally require a $400,000 contribution from the local sponsor, there will now be no contribution required. If the study or project would normally require a $1 million contribution, the local sponsor will now only need to contribute about $545,000,” said Pierluisi.