The Association of General Contractors, Chapter of Puerto Rico (AGCPR) held this morning a discussion with the candidates for the governorship to find out their positions and proposals on issues related to reconstruction and federal funds.
Each candidate had 30 minutes to answer the questions of a panel of experts in the area of the construction industry.
The candidates who attended the meeting were Alexandra Lúgaro, from the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana (MVC), Juan Dalmau from the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) and Pedro Pierluisi from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD).
Meanwhile, the candidates Eliezer Molina, Cesar Vázquez for the Dignity Project and Carlos “Charlie” Delgado Altieri for the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) did not participate in the discussion.
The first to depose and answer the questions was the candidate Alexandra Lúgaro, who explained that “during the next few years, Puerto Rico will be receiving a significant amount of funds destined precisely for the reconstruction of the country, in different areas.”
Lúgaro indicated that, within these funds that will be arriving, the Island has a “unique opportunity” to use them efficiently so that it does not become “merely a hiccup” in the economy, but rather, with an economic development plan to short, medium and long term move to revitalize and guarantee efficiency in the use of each of the funds.
To questions about her position on the increase to the minimum wage in the construction industry with federal funds, the candidate proposed that it remain at $ 15 for companies that can afford it, and that those that cannot afford it, can take advantage of what limits the federal order of $ 10.80 from former president, Barack Obama.
As for questions about planning and permits, he indicated that he will not do “bungling” or rushed processes.
“For transparent, agile and effective processes, we need a transparent, agile and effective government.”
The candidate expressed that as long as there is an “institutional mafia and an underground culture in the granting of permits, in exchange for a profit, the permitting process will continue to be inefficient.”
For his part, Juan Dalmau began by saying that “the problems that we discussed here in 2012, today we face in a much more dramatic way, but with greater opportunities to rebuild the necessary Puerto Rico for the present and for the future.”
Dalmau indicated that it is necessary to implement the three “Rs” of reconstruction, revitalization and repopulation to rebuild Puerto Rico with an adequate balance with respect to the construction industry, a balance of natural resources, and the best use of funds that they’ll be avalaible.
Regarding the increase in the minimum wage for construction, Dalmau indicated that “at the time the payment of 15 dollars can be reviewed as long as it does not have an impact on the industries that have employees who do jobs with state and federal funds. The company would have the dilemma that some employees would be paid $ 10.80 and others $ 15 ”.
In terms of permits and planning, the candidate said he believes in accelerating the granting of permits to do business, but the model used has to be strict when it comes to possible impacts on health and natural resources.
Similarly, Pedro Pierluisi indicated that he knows the industry, and can be considered an “ally”.
According to Pierluisi, “the two sectors that have remained fairly stable despite the pandemic have been the manufacturing sector and the construction sector.”
“Looking to the future, the economic development strategy must be multisectoral, but the construction sector will be key. We have an amount of federal funds never seen before to revitalize the infrastructure of Puerto Rico ”.
Regarding the increase to the minimum wage in the construction industry, he indicated that “the ideal would be for one to achieve a consensus between the business sector and the union sector when establishing the minimum wage in the industry, and any other wage that is is paying ”.
As I add, the salary should be based on the skills of the personnel working in the industry.
Finally, in terms of planning and permits, Pierlusi indicated that a joint regulation in force is needed and that it will be open to any revision that improves it. “In use permits, proceed automatically based on self-certification subject to collation and inspection by the government.”
Every four years, the AGCPR develops a Government Program that covers the most important and relevant issues for the construction industry, with a holistic vision of the Country.