San Juan – The United States Corps of Engineers revealed its 2021 work plan on Tuesday, in which it selects the new construction projects, among which is not the Martín Peña Caño, despite the fact that the project is ready to begin construction from 2019 said Mario Núñez, Executive Director of the ENLACE Project of Caño Martín Peña.
Recent studies show that the dredging of the Caño will reduce the risk of flooding, not only in the surrounding communities, but also in the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and in the San Juan and Carolina sectors adjacent to the San José Lagoon, said Núñez.
“The floods are due to the lack of adequate sanitary and rain infrastructure and not only significantly affect the health of our residents, but also represent economic losses,” Núñez said in a written statement.
Recently, a bipartisan group of congressmen asked the Corps of Engineers to begin dredging this fiscal year 2021-22.
These representatives and senators are: Jenniffer González, Nydia Velázquez, Don Young, Richie Torres, Doug LaMalfa, Darren Soto, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, John Katko, Stephanie Murphy, Mario Diaz-Balart, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.
Similarly, Governor Pedro Pierluisi and Mayor Miguel Romero have made commitments with the communities and have recognized this project in their agenda of priorities.
“We have been having to justify and defend this project for years before each new administration, when the cost of each flood for our families, for the Country, for our health and for the environment is more than clear. We will continue to fight for these funds to be officially assigned to the project. To do this, we are going to continue coordinating efforts with Caño allies in the Government of Puerto Rico and the United States Congress, ”added Lucy M. Cruz Rivera, President of the Group of Eight communities surrounding Caño Martín Peña.
The delay in the selection of the project puts the investment of the Government of Puerto Rico at risk. To date, the ENLACE Project of Caño Martín Peña and the local government have invested over $ 100 million in projects and activities to make the dredging of the Caño and associated infrastructure projects viable. This investment includes the acquisition of structures and the relocation of over 500 families to decent, safe and sanitary housing.
“The expressions of support from the new administrations in Puerto Rico and the United States represent an opportunity for collaboration to move this project forward and lay the first stone this four-year period. We are seeking meeting spaces in both administrations to develop a work plan that addresses the urgency of the project. The need for the project has been raised, the resources exist and the will has been expressed, now we need to act hand in hand. ” Núñez expressed.