U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today joined Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla and other territorial officials for the groundbreaking of the PR 18/21 Improvements project on the island's busiest north-south corridor. The $16.1 million project, which relies on $14.5 million in federal funds, is expected to improve traffic flow on one of Puerto Rico's key economic arteries and improve safety along a route with a history of crashes.
"Improving one of San Juan's busiest interstates is good news for the entire island, and will help grow jobs and businesses," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We need Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill so we can continue investing in projects like this one to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion and create "ladders of opportunity' for thousands."
The Obama Administration recently unveiled the GROW AMERICA Act, a bold $302 billion, four-year national vision for an aging transportation network and a growing population. Of that amount, $199.2 billion goes toward highways and bridges to focus on existing needs, such as increased traffic capacity to connect people to employment, and businesses to new or growing markets.
In addition to improved safety and overall traffic flow, the PR18/21 project will improve access to and from the Centro Medico complex, a key medical facility which serves thousands of residents of Puerto Rico and nearby Caribbean islands. It will also provide better access for drivers and pedestrians alike to the Centro Medico Tren Urbano mass transit station to the new Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) site and the planned "Science City" east of PR-18.
"Cutting commuter time, improving roadway safety and giving new life to an aging interstate are this project's obvious benefits," said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "But just as important are the economic benefits that transportation investments like this one will make for all of Puerto Rico."
According to the Puerto Rico Highways and Transit Authority, this project will support thousands of jobs and, by reinforcing the growth of Centro Medico and Science City, an injection of $560 million to Puerto Rico's economy.
When completed in 2016, the project will help support existing land use and promote other modes of transportation, such as walking and cycling, and Tren Urbano ridership.