SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico- This week, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares and the executive director for the Public-Private Partnerships Authority (P3 Authority), Omar J. Marrero, hosted the second annual P3 summit; P3 Summit: Cornerstone of Puerto Rico’s Recovery to discuss the many public-private partnership projects on the Island.
“Since we began working to achieve a transformation of Puerto Rico at the beginning of 2017, we identified public-private partnerships as an effective tool to carry out many of the infrastructure projects that Puerto Rico needs,” said Rosselló. “A year later, and nine months after the devastating hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico, we can say that there are already six projects that are well on track and that represent over $1.5 billion in investment.”
At the summit, more than 25 panelists from both the public and private sectors – including keynote speaker Mark Romoff, president of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships – shared their experiences and best practices, and proposed new ideas for best executing public-private partnerships.
Marrero stressed that “during the past year we have worked to identify and begin various projects, and we have also received unsolicited proposals from the private sector, which P3 Authority is evaluating. We currently have six projects that we are accepting bids for, or will be accepting bids for very soon – which is more than any other jurisdiction in the United States.”
Over the next few years, money invested in recovery projects is expected to boost the local economy and create new jobs. Projects include:
• Updating student facilities. The first project for which applications for qualifications are being requested (RFQ) is the student life project. This project consists of the development of dormitories, parking and a student center for the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. The deadline to submit proposals is June 27, 2018.
• Ferry service to outer islands. An RFQ has also been requested for ferry service between Culebra, Vieques and Cataño. The project would create a new route to leave from Ceiba, completely transforming the service. The deadline to submit proposals for this project is July 30, 2018.
• Modernizing water utilities. An RFQ has been requested for the optimization of the meter system and customer service for the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). This project consists of improving a series of services offered by the PRASA, such as replacing outdated meters with more modern ones that provide more precise readings; offer better maintenance; and improve efficiency and service for customers. Similarly, the project seeks to improve and increase payment through a more efficient system, and reduce the flow water that cannot be billed or accounted for. This project represents a capital investment of over $100 million.
• Improve cruise ship docks. An unsolicited proposal seeks to modernize and optimize the cruise docks in order to receive larger and more modern cruises and improve the passenger experience. This would strengthen Puerto Rico as a tourist destination, and would be an attraction for the worldwide cruise industry.
• High-capacity energy storage. An energy stability and storage project is close to being able to call for RFQs, with the official request coming in the next few weeks. This project consists of the development of a high capacity energy storage plant to provide greater stability to the energy system of Puerto Rico, while providing resilience and responsiveness to fluctuations or power system outages.
• Public Safety Training. Finally, a training project for public safety is expected to be formally announced by the end of this month. This will consist of a necessity and convenience study, followed up by trainings for public safety officers.
“These is just a sample of the projects P3 Authority is working on – there are other projects that are going through the evaluation process,” explained Marrero. “We are very pleased with the private sector’s participation in the summit, which demonstrates their interest in doing business in Puerto Rico. Together, we will build the Puerto Rico of the future.”