re posted from EIR DAILY ALERT SERVICE
FEMA Grants $13 Billion to Puerto Rico, To Rebuild Electrical and Educational Infrastructure
Sept. 19 (EIRNS)—In remarks at the White House yesterday, President Donald Trump announced that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), will award a grant of $13 billion to Puerto Rico, to help rebuild its electrical grid and educational infrastructure. Recall that two back-to-back hurricanes, Irma and Maria, that slammed Puerto Rico in September 2017 wiped out the island’s electric grid—which was already in a decrepit state—and destroyed other critical infrastructure. The Free and Associated State of Puerto Rico, whose residents are U.S. citizens, has never recovered.
As President Trump explained yesterday, these federal grants are related to the administration’s plan to once again make Puerto Rico a major pharmaceutical manufacturing center, which it was until 2006, and secure supply chains closer to home. A section of the Internal Revenue Code allowed mainland pharmaceutical companies to operate on the island without having to pay federal taxes—a very attractive enticement. But when Congress finally eliminated that tax break in 2006, those companies very quickly left the island—for Ireland, India and China—leaving 100,000 or more Puerto Ricans unemployed almost overnight, and an economy which quickly plunged into collapse.
During the 2017 emergency, FEMA supplied significant funding and crucial supplies, and worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, to make critical repairs to the grid, but this was only a temporary fix to address immediate energy needs. The grant announced yesterday is aimed at permanently rebuilding the electric grid as well as restoring school buildings and educational facilities which suffered enormous damage across the island in 2017 and during subsequent hurricanes.
Power outages are a daily occurrence in Puerto Rico, so a reliable electricity supply must be guaranteed for any company that relocates to the island. Any improvement to the island’s crumbling infrastructure will be welcomed by the impoverished Puerto Rican population as well, but ultimately it will take more far-reaching policies, such as incorporating Puerto Rico into the Belt and Road Initiative and implementing LaRouchePAC’s program to create 1.5 billion new productive jobs, to bring about a thorough transformation of the island.
Source: EIR Daily Alert Service