Puerto Rico Privatizes the Roads

by Jack S. Schnettler, Vice Pres.; Post Buckley, Schuh Jernigan, 8600 NW 36th St., Miami, FL 33166,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 2, Pg. 56-58

Document Type: Feature article


The opening of Puerto Rico's Teodoro Moscoso Bridge in San Juan early in 1994 will usher in a new era of privately financed toll roads. The first product of the 1989 Private Capital Involvement Program, the bridge had its $83 million construction cost completely financed by private concessionaire equity and bonds supported by user fees. Puerto Rico has found it difficult to keep traffic moving, particularly in the San Juan metropolitan area, where more than one-third of the island's 3.1 million people reside. Through its U.S. commonwealth status, Puerto Rico derives approximately $60 million annually in federal highway funding, which must be spent according to the rules of the Federal Highway Administration. Puerto Rico supplements this funding with its own locally generated transportation funds of approximately $180 million. In fact, Puerto Rico has constructed more than 140 km of toll roads in the last 20 years through conventional revenue bond financing. By the summer of 1992, slightly more than two years after the program's inception and after intensive project planning, financial analysis, project permitting, traffic and revenue forecasting, concessionaire procurement, contract negotiations and an array of other project development tasks, construction began on the bridge.

Subject Headings: Infrastructure construction | Private sector | Financing | Project management | Privatization | Highways and roads | Tolls | Federal government | Puerto Rico | United States | Caribbean

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