CNE has developed the FPMCM Dashboard for users to query on trends regarding federal post-María contracting for reconstruction works in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico and its residents have experienced numerous crises and shocks in the last decades, including an economic depression dating back to 2006; a public debt crisis resulting in the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history and a federally appointed fiscal oversight board pursuing deep budget cuts; a demographic crisis with population dropping by more than 600,000 residents since peaking at 3.8 million in 2004; and most recently, the devastation and cascading effects left by the hurricanes of 2017.
Puerto Rico’s protracted economic depression — and the draconian measures implemented to combat the resulting fiscal imbalances — have eroded the island’s government capacity to perform at all levels and created fertile ground for unscrupulous actors to engage in fraudulent behavior. Severe austerity programs implemented since 2006 have led to: drastic budget cuts in numerous key agencies, high employee turnover, low morale amongst public servants and limited resources across the board.
On May 3, 2019, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (“PREPA”), the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (“AAFAF”), and the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (the “FOMB”), executed a “Definitive Restructuring Support Agreement” (the “RSA”), with the members of the Ad Hoc Group of PREPA Bondholders (the “Ad Hoc Group”), and Assured Guaranty Corp. and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (collectively, “Assured”), for the restructuring of a portion of certain bonds issued by PREPA.
It has been a little over a year since Hurricane María fractured Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and its demographic and economic landscape. Currently, all the critical infrastructure—electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals—is functional.
In the wake of the devastation resulting from hurricane María, the United States Federal Government mobilized numerous emergency relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Traditionally, Federal disaster response has been thought of as the “silver lining” that stems from a catastrophic event, given the millions of US Government dollars that are pumped into the local economy.
CNE 2016 Annual Report
Puerto Rico is at a critical junction in the disaster recovery process after Hurricane María. Relief efforts, while still ongoing in certain parts of the island, are slowly winding down and soon will give way to recovery activities and the rebuilding of the island. It is, therefore, “a time of desperate loss, yet also a time of distinct possibility.”1