Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Opinion: Puerto Rico suffers amid disaster capitalism

Source: Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, Press Connects, November 5, 2017

There are people coming to the island, though: the disaster capitalists. As eloquently articulated by journalist Naomi Klein in her book “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” disasters both natural and human-made are increasingly being exploited by for-profit corporations and so-called free-market ideologues to reshape vast swaths of impacted societies, undermining social-welfare systems, privatizing public utilities, busting unions and making obscene profits rebuilding. Post-hurricane Puerto Rico is shaping up to be a textbook case of the shock doctrine.

… Case in point is the $300 million, no-bid contract awarded to Whitefish Energy to rebuild the island’s power grid. … As we spoke, news broke that Gov. Rossello had called for the cancellation of the contract. Jaramillo demanded not only that, but also the firing of the head of PREPA, who signed the contract, and a full criminal investigation into all those responsible for it. Like Mayor Cruz, Jaramillo is working to incorporate solar power into the rebuilt power grid, without privatizing the grid in the process. In the meantime, Fortune 500 Fluor Corp. has also received a $200 million contract to work on the power grid. As Whitefish eventually heads back to Montana, there are two things you can be sure of: More disaster capitalists will be lining up to take its place, and the proud, resilient population of Puerto Rico, growing intolerant of the delays and the corruption, will be increasingly vigilant, while building momentum for renewable alternatives to the fossil-fuel power grid that has failed them.

Related:

The Puerto Rico Power Scandal Expands
Source: Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic, November 3, 2017
 
A second federal contract with a company hired to rebuild Puerto Rico’s all but collapsed power grid is coming under scrutiny, drawing the attention of federal investigators and even members of Congress even as most of the hurricane-ravaged island remains without power. The news of a second faulty contract is also raising questions about the contracting process for the island’s government-owned power company, the  Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority (PREPA).  Puerto Rico’s crumbling, aging electrical grid was at the heart of the island’s crippling debt and infrastructure problems even before Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into it over a month ago. But now, in the wake of recent scandals over contractors hired to fix that very grid, some experts expect the timeline for full recovery to last well into next year. …

FBI Is Probing Puerto Rico Power Contract
Source: Andrew Scurria, Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2017
 
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a decision by Puerto Rico’s power authority to award a $300 million contract to a tiny Montana energy firm to rebuild electrical infrastructure damaged in Hurricane Maria, according to people familiar with the matter.  Agents from the FBI’s San Juan field office are looking into circumstances surrounding the deal that the public power monopoly known as Prepa signed with Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC, according to the people familiar with the matter.  Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló canceled the contract Sunday, saying it had become a distraction from the U.S. territory’s efforts to restore the devastated grid. Only 30% of the island’s power customers have had electricity restored. …

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Trump boosts disaster aid for Puerto Rico rebuild

Source: Roberta Rampton, Reuters, November 2, 2017
 
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday agreed to expand the use of disaster aid to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid and other infrastructure wrecked by Hurricane Maria, the White House said. In a unique agreement recognizing both the massive devastation on the island and its dire financial problems, aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for infrastructure projects will be released in a faster, more flexible way than is typical after disasters, a senior White House official told Reuters.  The plan, agreed to with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, will also provide for third-party advisers to estimate how much money is requires for big-ticket projects, and how it is spent – a provision aimed at protecting taxpayer dollars in what is expected to be a massive, long-term effort to rebuild the island. …

Related:
Puerto Rico Lays Out Energy Future With Tesla, Privatization
Source: Jonathan Levin, Bloomberg, October 22, 2017

A Puerto Rican official who has been in talks with Tesla Inc. said the island is serious about transforming its energy infrastructure after it was leveled by Category 4 Hurricane Maria, despite questions about how such an overhaul would be funded.  Speaking in a telephone interview Sunday, Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said Puerto Rico’s government understands its skeptics: The island’s finances are shot and its electricity system is in tatters. But he said the U.S. territory has a historic opportunity to use federal funds to modernize an aging and weak power grid.  At the core of the argument is the government’s belief that funding related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, can be used to build a new system, not just repair the old one, so that it won’t be susceptible to collapse when the next storm hits. Laboy said Governor Ricardo Rossello’s government is prepared to make its case. …

Puerto Rico taps public private partnerships to boost economy
Source: Robert Slavin, Bond Buyer, October 19 2017

…The island government said Monday that it’s working on six public private partnership projects that would lead to $300 million to $400 million of investment in projects ranging from a hydroelectric dam to student housing.  Puerto Rico will seek requests for qualifications for three of the projects and it is already working with companies on the other three. If the projects go forward, they would boost an economy that has been struggling with long-term economic decline compounded by the impacts of two major hurricanes in the last two months….

Elon Musk Is Not the Hero Puerto Rico Needs
Source: Kate Aronoff, In These Times, October 11, 2017

… According to a tweet from the governor late last week, the two are now in talks about bringing renewable energy from Musk’s Tesla and SolarCity operations to the island, whose long-embattled public utility—the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)—was decimated by Hurricane Maria. … On the one hand, the talks can be seen as a positive development: More than 80 percent of the island remains without power, and the storm could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Puerto Rico to get back online and become a leader in the transition away from fossil fuels. But the budding friendship between Rossello and Musk is also taking place in the context of a massive attempt to privatize Puerto Rico’s electric utility. Musk’s companies could deliver tangible improvements to Puerto Rico’s grid, but they could also prime the pump for a corporate takeover of the United States’ largest public power provider, putting decisions like who gets power and how much it costs into the hands of corporate shareholders. …

Puerto Rico Faces Restart on Financial Plan After Maria
Source: Heather Gillers and Andrew Scurria, Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2017

It took months to put together a financial overhaul plan for Puerto Rico. Now officials may have to start over following Hurricane Maria. The federal board supervising Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy plans to meet Friday and is likely to discuss possible changes to a commonwealth fiscal plan it approved in March, according to a person familiar with the matter. The conversations could affect the severity of write downs on Puerto Rico’s $73 billion in debt.

… Reconstructing Puerto Rico’s power grid may prove particularly costly because of financial difficulties at its struggling electric utility. … Congress is starting to debate how best to rebuild Prepa. Setting up a reliable power system will require expensive modernization using federal dollars. Prepa is a flashpoint in Puerto Rico’s financial crisis because power rates are a drag on family incomes and company budgets. The oversight board has said it wants to privatize power generation to lower costs and transition Prepa to a regulated utility model. Creditors are skeptical of privatization, concerned that by selling off assets Prepa would lose the revenue streams backing its debt. But raising power rates to repay creditors is politically toxic in Puerto Rico, where the cost of importing fuel from oil tankers has driven power prices higher than in any U.S. state but Hawaii. …

Puerto Rico’s bondholders worried after Hurricane Maria turns out lights
Source: Francine McKenna, MarketWatch, September 21, 2017

If Puerto Rico is without power for months after Hurricane Maria, as authorities now warn, many investors in the $9 billion of Puerto Rico’s outstanding electric utility bonds risk never seeing their money. … The plight of Prepa bondholders—Prepa is Puerto Rico’s main supplier of electricity—was grim even before Irma. … Prepa’s bonds, $9 billion worth, are revenue bonds whose funding stream is based on collecting customer fees. Even before Hurricane Maria knocked power out for good, bondholders were worried that Prepa would deliberately force some plants offline, jeopardizing the collateral, creating justification for a privatization plan that could leave current bondholders high and dry. Proponents argue that a brand new electric authority, free of debt, would be a huge boon to the Puerto Rican economy. …

Hurricane Irma Unleashes the Forces of Privatization in Puerto Rico
Source: Kate Aronoff, Angel Manuel Soto, and Averie Timm, The Intercept, September 12, 2017

For struggling governments around the world, privatizing utilities has come to be seen as a kind of get-rich-quick scheme, offering an upfront infusion of cash to underfunded municipalities. Given Prepa’s size and that of its debt — $9 billion — it has been a long-standing target for privatizers, even before Congress passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act last year to help rein in Puerto Rico’s mounting debt crisis. The blackout following Irma just added fuel to the fire. Days before Irma hit, Rosselló emphasized that privatization is firmly on the table, telling the New York Times that Irma “can become an opportunity or another liability.” …

Irma Grazes Puerto Rico but Lays Bare an Infrastructure Problem
Source: Luis Ferré-Sadurní, New York Times, September 10, 2017

As government workers cleared roads obstructed by uprooted trees and repaired toppled electricity lines, residents of Puerto Rico felt some relief that the eye wall of Hurricane Irma had skirted the island on its recent rampage through the Caribbean.  But while the commonwealth had largely been spared the 185-mile-an-hour gusts that had flattened its smaller island neighbors, hundreds of residents still lost their homes, at least three people died and almost 70 percent of households were plunged into darkness. The storm knocked out Puerto Rico’s fragile power grid, exposing the island’s decrepit infrastructure and raising questions about its future viability amid a worsening economic crisis.

… How a commonwealth going through a decade-long recession will be able to pay for much-needed upgrades is the key question. One option is to turn to the private sector, local economists say. Private investments, Mr. Rosselló said, could be accelerated under a provision of a contentious new law called Promesa, which placed the island’s finances under the oversight of a federal board. The provision could expedite and facilitate the process for private investment in electric, highway and water projects. … But the idea of privatizing public utilities is a divisive one on the island. The electrical workers’ union fears that the government purposely let Prepa deteriorate over time to justify privatizing it. …

Puerto Rico wasn’t ready for Hurricane Irma. We couldn’t possibly be.
Source: Carla Minet, Washington Post, September 7, 2017

On the surface, Puerto Rico was as ready as it could be for Hurricane Irma. Government agencies and Gov. Ricardo Rosselló have been taking a proactive, hands-on approach. President Trump has declared a state of emergency, which will generate emergency funds from the federal government. Refugees from the northeastern corner of the island, where Irma’s Category 5 winds already reached Wednesday afternoon, were arriving in shelters. … But Irma — a storm the likes of which we haven’t seen here in decades — is heading for an island whose resources to truly prepare for an emergency are already in grave doubt. … Now Irma may be used as a new rationale for the strategy of privatizing the public service by the Fiscal Control Board, whose members have publicly declared support for selling off the utility. The agency announced that 44 percent of the population — 692,350 clients — were already without electricity service by Wednesday afternoon. …

Government labor strife is latest test for fractured Puerto Rico
Source: Nick Brown, Reuters, August 30, 2017

Puerto Rico’s already frail economy faces a fresh test this week, as the bankrupt U.S. territory’s financial overseers try to force a defiant governor to furlough public workers, the single biggest block of employees on the island. An escalating power struggle between the democratically elected Governor Ricardo Rossello and the federally appointed oversight panel culminated on Monday when the board sued Rossello, saying he had no authority to reject pension cuts and furloughs ordered by the board. The measures are set to begin Sept 1. A competing lawsuit from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents 12,000 Puerto Rican workers, argues the exact opposite – that the measures violate the U.S. Constitution, and should be halted. At least six unions are staging protests on Wednesday to oppose the austerity, featuring a midday march to the board’s San Juan offices. … Noting a Rossello initiative to privatize some public assets, Eiler said “the unions’ cooperation is imperative” for public-private partnerships. …

Hedge Fund Sues to Have Puerto Rico’s Bankruptcy Case Thrown Out
Source: Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, August 7, 2017

A hedge fund sued on Monday to have Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy case thrown out, arguing that the federal oversight board guiding the island’s financial affairs was unconstitutionally established.  In a lawsuit filed in United States District Court in San Juan, the hedge fund, Aurelius Capital, cited the “appointments clause” of the United States Constitution, which calls for all principal officers of the federal government to be appointed by the president, and then confirmed by the Senate.  That did not happen when the seven members of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico were selected, Aurelius said in its motion to dismiss the bankruptcy-like proceedings. …

Puerto Rico Teachers’ Union-AFT Join Forces Amid Debt Woes
Source: Jaclyn Diaz, Daily Labor Report, August 4, 2017 (subscription required)

The economic devastation in Puerto Rico has pushed the American Federation of Teachers to lend a hand to the island’s educators. Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico will continue to represent the 40,000 plus Puerto Rican educators. It signed a three-year affiliation agreement with the 1.6 million-member AFT to help it combat the island’s economic challenges, the two unions announced Aug. 3. … AFT and AMPR will work together to fight austerity measures and privatization on the island, Randi Weingarten, AFT president, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 4. AFT will lend resources to help AMPR train teachers for the future and to bring in legal assistance to fight the fiscal plan adopted by the Puerto Rican government, she said. …

Is Congress’ plan to save Puerto Rico working?
Source: Edwin Melendez, San Francisco Chronicle, July 31, 2017

A year ago, Congress cobbled together a plan to try to save Puerto Rico from its US$123 billion debt and pension crisis without costing American taxpayers a penny.  The law, signed by former President Barack Obama on June 30, 2016, effectively steered Puerto Rico into bankruptcy-like proceedings in federal court to prevent a massive default, while saddling the commmonwealth with an oversight board to ensure it put its fiscal house in order.  Though the vote was bipartisan, critics called it a “Band-Aid” that would do little to solve Puerto Rico’s core problems: unsustainable debt that has kept the country mired in recession for almost a dozen years. …

For Sale: Puerto Rico
Source: Heather Gillers, Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2017

Puerto Rico has no cash and can’t borrow money anymore. So it is looking to sell itself off in parts. The troubled U.S. territory is preparing to seek bids in coming months from private companies willing to operate or improve seaports, regional airports, water meters, student housing, traffic-fine collections, parking spaces and a passenger ferry, according to a government presentation reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The Bankers Behind Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis
Source: Michelle Chen, The Nation, June 8, 2017

Puerto Rico’s economic crisis has now washed the burden of its colonial legacy onto Washington’s doorstep. Congress has been trying to contain the island’s ballooning debt under the hardline austerity program of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). But since the program is governed by a control board run by the same financiers responsible for driving the debt crisis in the first place, the island continues to sink into poverty while its creditors feast on the spoils.  To underscore how Puerto Rico’s revolving door of big finance and politics is underwriting the debt crisis, a report by the AFL-CIO and the community-labor coalition Committee for Better Banks (CBB) traces the career of the head of PROMESA, Carlos M. García, from his role as a head banker of Santander to his current political post overseeing the privatization and pillage of Puerto Rico’s anemic public assets.

Puerto Rico strikes second restructuring deal with bondholders
Source: Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments, May 15, 2017

Puerto Rico reached a restructuring agreement with bondholders invested in the commonwealth’s Government Development Bank, officials announced Monday in San Juan. … Puerto Rico’s Federal Affairs Administration said in that statement that GDB creditors “have agreed to substantial discounts to the principal,” but did not provide further details on the agreement, which calls for bondholders to exchange claims for one of three tranches of bonds issued by a new municipal entity. The new bonds will have varying principal amounts, interest rates, collateral priority, and other payment terms.  It is the second agreement reached with bondholders and Gov. Ricardo Rosello, following one announced April 6 with holders of bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. The PREPA agreement restructures $9 billion in debt by offering them 85 cents on the dollar, and giving PREPA more time to begin making payments. …

Puerto Rico board extends budget deadline by two weeks
Source: Robert Slavin, Bond Buyer, May 9, 2017 (Subscription Required)

The Puerto Rico Oversight Board extended the deadline for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to submit a fiscal year 2018 budget by two weeks.  Board chairman José Carrión III told Rosselló that the board had originally set May 8 as the deadline for either the board approving the governor’s budget or notifying the governor of violations and providing a description of corrective actions. “We have received a working draft of the proposed budget and are reviewing the submission and its completeness,” Carrión wrote Monday. “The board will provide the governor an additional 14 days to amend and improve the submission before it approves it or identifies violations.” …

Puerto Rico unveils energy PPPs amid economic turmoil
Source: David Casallas, BNamericas, May 5, 2017

Puerto Rico’s embattled government released a list of priority project proposals for this year, among them energy sector initiatives that would be carried out through public-private partnerships (PPP). The projects envision natural gas use at power utility AEE’s residual fuel oil fired-plants Costa Sur (990MW) and Palo Seco (602MW) which would cost US$150mn-265mn and US$200mn-360mn, respectively. Information from the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority also reveals that AEE seeks partners to develop renewable energy projects, including photovoltaic and wind, for between US$100mn and US$700mn. …

Puerto Rico Declares a Form of Bankruptcy
Source: Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, May 3, 2017

With its creditors at its heels and its coffers depleted, Puerto Rico sought what is essentially bankruptcy relief in federal court on Wednesday, the first time in history that an American state or territory had taken the extraordinary measure.  The action sent Puerto Rico, whose approximately $123 billion in debt and pension obligations far exceeds the $18 billion bankruptcy filed by Detroit in 2013, to uncharted ground.  While the court proceedings could eventually make the island solvent for the first time in decades, the more immediate repercussions will likely be grim: Government workers will forgo pension money, public health and infrastructure projects will go wanting, and the “brain drain” the island has been suffering as professionals move to the mainland could intensify. …

Puerto Rico faces bank closure, privatizations
Source: Danica Coto, Associated Press, April 28, 2017

Puerto Ricans will be facing a water rate increase, privatization of government operations and the closure of a bank that once oversaw the island’s debt transactions, officials said Friday as they worked on measures to offset an economic crisis.  Some of the changes were outlined in new fiscal plans presented to a federal control board overseeing the island’s finances. The plans for four heavily indebted Puerto Rico agencies will be amended in upcoming weeks, although officials noted that the water rate increase will start in January and that the Government Development Bank will be liquidated within a decade.  The board recently approved an overall fiscal plan for the central government that contains several austerity measures. …

Puerto Rico pushes to privatize operation of public services
Source: Danica Coto, Associated Press, April 20, 2017

Puerto Rico is ready to sign dozens of new deals to privatize the operation of public services as government funds dwindle amid a decade-long recession, the island’s governor told some 800 investors attending a two-day financial summit Thursday.  Gov. Ricardo Rossello said public-private partnerships could create up to 100,000 new jobs and generate some $5 billion in the next three years for a U.S. territory mired in economic crisis and its government facing a $70 billion public debt load that it is struggling to restructure.

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan
Source: AFSCME Press Release, March 13, 2017

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the oversight board’s approval of a fiscal plan for Puerto Rico:  “The plan approved by the Oversight Board will have devastating consequences for the people of Puerto Rico, especially its most vulnerable citizens. The plan adopts an austerity approach that will slash services, cut pensions and create yet more economic hardship for Puerto Ricans. The winners are wealthy investors who stand to gain from the mass privatization of the services that remain. These actions are the foreseeable result of an anti-democratic law adopted by the last Congress. The people of Puerto Rico have been forgotten; we call on the federal government to act quickly to restore services and pensions.”

Board to Puerto Rico: Cut Pension System, Impose Furloughs
Source: Danica Coto, Associated Press, March 13, 2017

A federal control board on Monday said Puerto Rico’s government needs to cut its public pension system by 10 percent, furlough tens of thousands of its workers and eliminate Christmas bonuses if it cannot generate other types of savings amid a nearly decade-long recession. The seven-member board created by Congress last year to oversee the U.S. territory’s finances voted unanimously to add those measures to a 10-year fiscal plan presented by the island’s governor that the panel approved Monday. The measures will be implemented if the government fails to find other ways to cut spending and increase revenue. Board members said the spending cuts will be necessary so the government will have enough funds to pay for essential services such as education, health and public safety. … The plan drafted by the government and approved by the board also will cap some Medicaid benefits, effectively raise property taxes and scrap some infrastructure projects while possibly turning ferries, ports and parking lots over to private companies. It will freeze salaries until 2020, seeks to privatize the generation of power and increase motor vehicle license fees by 10 percent. …

Puerto Rico governor wants fewer austerity measures
Source: Danica Coto, Associated Press, March 1, 2017

Puerto Rico’s governor submitted an austerity plan made public on Wednesday that would cut deeply into the U.S. territory’s budget while avoiding some of the most painful measures recommended by a federal control board that is overseeing the island’s effort to confront a debt crisis that has led to repeated defaults. Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s plan would cap some Medicaid benefits, effectively raise property taxes and collect a tax on internet purchases. It would also scrap some infrastructure projects and could turn ferries, ports and parking lots over to private companies. But it would fall short of the board’s recommendation of a 30 percent cut in payroll costs and 10 percent reduction in the government pension system, which is on track to run out of money next year. …

Puerto Rico activists fight to keep beaches public

Source: Caribbean News Now, August 10, 2016

Environmental activists and experts in Puerto Rico breathed a sigh of relief when a law that sought to privatize La Parguera, a public maritime zone in the western coast of Lajas, was rejected. But their battle is far from over. Several public beaches and maritime zones are fighting privatization proposals. Project #1621, the bill that was recently rejected, intended to legalize floating water houses or casetas. Illegal casetas have existed in La Parguera for decades. The bill would have legalized these homes, allowed the owners to rent the property for up to 40 years and it would have turned the free public space along the casetas into an exclusive tourism zone. … Project #1621 was only one of several bills that intended to commodify public spaces on the island. In November 2015, an altercation between Marriott hotel’s administration and environmental activists made headline news after a ten year struggle erupted into a protest in Isla Verde Beach in Carolina. The organization Coalición Playas Pa’l Pueblo had established a camp site in Isla Verde over ten years ago to protect free public access in a beach located in the northern city of Carolina. … Another bill proposed this year by the House of Representatives was Project #2853, which intended to legalize the privatization of Puerto Rico’s coastal zones. This project would have created a Trust for Ecotourist Conservation in Puerto Rico under the Department of Natural Resources for granting special licenses for the private use of the coastal maritime zone. The bill was rejected by the Senate, and during the night of its hearing, activists gathered outside the Capitol of Puerto Rico to protest, and activist Alberto de Jesús, better known as “Tito Kayak”, climbed a flag pole and replaced the American flag with one that read “Beaches belong to the people.” …

Puerto Rico governor supports privatizing power production

Source: Associated Press, June 4, 2015

Puerto Rico’s governor said Wednesday that he supports privatizing electricity production in the U.S. territory as officials seek to restructure the island’s troubled public power company.

Related:
Puerto Rico Leaders Battle on Potential PREPA Privatization
Source: Robert Slavin, Bond Buyer, March 24, 2014
(subscription required)

Puerto Rico’s leaders are at odds over a potential privatization of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. On March 20 Puerto Rico’s Senate passed a series of bills for reforming the commonwealth’s electrical system. …. . One of the bills opened the path for a possible quick privatization of the provision of electricity on the island. This is one of the key things García Padilla opposes about the bills, the governor’s chief of staff, Ingrid Vila Biaggi, told The Bond Buyer.

Puerto Rico Dumps Traffic Cameras, Orders Refunds/ After just a few months, Puerto Rico cancels automated ticketing machine contract, refunding all citations.

Source: theNewspaper.com, January 16, 2015

The public in Puerto Rico complained so loudly about the photo enforcement program that the territory’s government listened. Red light cameras went up at three intersections in October dealing out $250 tickets for making rolling right turns, speeding or having a recently expired vehicle registration. On Thursday, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (D) had his transportation department refund every ticket issued. … Haste was important, since the program had not become fully operational. A contract clause allowed the transportation department to cancel the deal without paying the $6 million termination fee at any time before the installation was complete. Transportation officials also insist that the photo ticketing firm failed to deliver on its end of the bargain. A no-bid contract was awarded to International Traffic Systems, which also operated in Puerto Rico under the name “National Public Safety Consortium.” In the United States, this entity goes by the name InsureNet, a company run by Jonathan Miller of Georgia. InsureNet sells automated license plate readers and has unsuccessfully lobbied to have automated cameras issue tickets to drivers whose insurance or registration has lapsed in states like Oklahoma and Illinois….

Firm condemnation of closure or privatization of Mental Health Center in Guaynabo

Source: Antonio R. Gomez, El Nuevodia, October 7, 2013
(English translation here)

Patient Mental Health Clinic of San Patricio and friends of these reiterated today, Monday, opposition to the closure of these facilities or to transfer its operations to the company APS Healthcare, which is what provides these services under the health plan government “My Health”. The group appeared before the Commission on Civil Rights, Citizenship and Social Economy of the Senate, to hold hearings on mental health services received by children in Puerto Rico.

Opinion: Grounding Midway privatization was right: Now make transparency the law

Source: Donald Cohen, Crain’s, October 1, 2013

Explaining his recent decision to pull the plug on plans to privatize Chicago’s Midway Airport, Mayor Rahm Emanuel wrote that his “most important goal was to protect the interests of the city and its taxpayers in a way that had not been done on previous public-private partnerships.” The mayor was spot-on in applying these principles to Midway. But these same principles should apply to every service or asset that Chicago has privatized or will consider privatizing in the future. …. The proposed Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance, pending before the City Council, is one solid proposal that would institutionalize the same kinds of protections included in the guidelines given to the citizens task force set up by the mayor to oversee the process.

Related:
City outlines terms of Midway privatization
Source: Kathy Bergen, Chicago Tribune, January 18, 2013

Companies interested in vying for a contract to privatize Midway Airport will have to agree to an array of stipulations, including a lease of not more than 40 years, according to documents posted online Friday that invite potential bidders to submit their qualifications….

Chicago Midway International Airport Request for Qualifications
Source: City of Chicago, January 2013

Advancing Privatizing Midway
Source: Dermot Connolly, Southwest City News-Herald, January 04, 2013

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Floats Ideas That Is Gaining Some Support…Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is advancing the idea of privatizing Midway Airport but suggests having a lease agreement much shorter than the $2.5 billion 99-year proposal backed by former Mayor Richard M. Daley that fell through in 2009. …In addition to a lease less than 40 years, the press release issued by the Emanuel’s office stated that the draft RFQ guidelines include: long-term cash flow stream for long-term capital needs; and revenue share, meaning initial proceeds will be used to pay off debt issued by the city dating back to 1996 to rebuild the new Midway Airport. The city would also retain ownership of Midway Airport and receive a percentage fee that will grow over time. A private operator signing the lease would manage revenue-producing activities like food, beverage and car rental concessions and parking lots. The FAA would continue to provide air traffic control, while the Transportation Security Administration would continue to provide security operations…Responses to the RFQ are expected to be due in the first quarter of 2013. Review of the potential bidders will be conducted in the spring. Once released, the RFQ will be made available on the city’s Web site.

Emanuel moves ahead on Midway privatization, aldermen not so sure

Source: Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times, December 21, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel moved ahead Thursday on testing the privatization market for Midway Airport — with a 40-year lease, profit-sharing for Chicago taxpayers and safeguards against consumer price-gouging — but there’s political turbulence ahead. Aldermen are still gun-shy about the steep schedule of rate increases tied to controversial deals that privatized 36,000 city parking meters and the Chicago Skyway. They’re not happy about the prospect of selling off an asset as valuable as Midway — and reviving a deal that collapsed in 2009 for lack of financing — even if it’s done in a way dramatically different than one former Mayor Richard M. Daley envisioned.

Emanuel close to reviving Midway privatization — with key changes
Source: Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times, December 1, 2012

Facing a Dec. 31 federal deadline, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has all but decided to test the privatization market for Midway Airport, but do it in a way dramatically different from the 99-year, $2.5 billion deal that collapsed for lack of financing, according to City Hall sources….

Is Midway Airport privatization deal back in the works?
Source: Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times, May 7, 2012

City not yet grounding Midway privatization possibility
Source: Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times, March 30, 2012

Chicago Leaves Door Open For Midway Airport Lease
Source: Yvette Shields, Bond Buyer, April 3, 2012
(subscription required)

FAA OKs Chicago Bid for Midway Airport Privatization
Source: Yvette Shields, Bond Buyer, April 9, 2012
(subscription required)

Plans to privatize Midway may fly again / As eligibility deadline approaches, some say deal is viable; Mayor Rahm Emanuel remains mum
Source: Kathy Bergen, Chicago Tribune, March 15, 2012

Chicago attorney John Schmidt, a key adviser to the city on the ultimately unsuccessful push several years ago to privatize Midway Airport, says such a deal would be viable now, given that the financial markets have stabilized….A proposal to privatize the Luiz Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is moving ahead with strong interest from investors and support from the major airlines operating there, said Schmidt, who is counsel on that project and a partner with Mayer Brown LLP.

Airport Privatization Takes Off in Puerto Rico

Source: Darwin BondGraham, Truthout, April 23, 2013

…Like the public toll roads Puerto Rico has sold, the Luis Munoz Marin Airport’s privatization was justified as a means to raise cash to pay down debt. Critics say, however, that the deal shortchanged the public, and that it will only worsen the island’s debt situation….
Related:
Puerto Rico to Privatize its Airport – Update
Source: Robert Slavin, Bond buyer, February 26, 2013
(subscription required)

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla will go ahead with plans to privatize Puerto Rico’s main airport. Late on Monday U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the Federal Aviation Administration approved a plan to privatize San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. …

Puerto Rico Moves to Privatize Airport, Finds Mixed Reactions
Source: Politic365, February 13, 2013

Last week, Governor Garcia Padilla received his first protest, courtesy of his administration’s support for the public-private partnership (APP in its Spanish acronym) concerning the Island’s main airport, the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. The partnership, originally pushed by former Governor Luis Fortuño, and opposed, at the time, by Garcia-Padilla’s party in the run up to the elections, has been embraced by the current governor under the premise that the deal was already signed by the time he came into power. Garcia-Padilla doesn’t fully support the partnership, which would lease the main airport to Aerostar, a Mexican company who manages several airports around the world, for a period of 40 years. …

Puerto Rico in $2.57 bln airport privatization
Source: Reuters, July 19, 2012

Puerto Rico’s government selected Aerostar Airport Holdings LLC in a deal worth $2.57 billion to run its Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, the largest in the Caribbean, Gov. Luis Fortuno said on Thursday. The deal calls for Aerostar, which is made up of Aeroportuario del Sureste, an operator of nine airports in Mexico, and Highstar Capital, which has made investments in Baltimore and London, to run the airport for 40 years.

Bids submitted for Puerto Rico airport PPP
Source: Infrastructure Investor, July 11, 2012
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The ASUR/Highstar Capital consortium and rival Ferrovial/Macquarie grouping have handed over their sealed proposals and bids to Puerto Rico’s Public-Private Partnerships Authority for the PPP of Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

Mexico’s ASUR, Spain’s Ferrovial eye Puerto Rico airport contract
Source: Fox News Latino, July 07, 2012

Puerto Rico workers protest airport privatization
Source: Associated Press, June 26, 2012

Puerto Rico picks two finalists for airport privatization
Source: Reuters, May 2, 2012

Puerto Rico officials eyeing a possible $1 billion payday on Wednesday said they had narrowed to two the finalists for a public-private concession to run the Caribbean island’s Luiz Munoz Marin Airport for as long as half a century. The Puerto Rico Public Private Partnership Authority and the Ports Authority announced as finalists, consortiums Grupo Aerpuertos Avance (GAA) and Aerostar Airport Holdings LLC (AAH). They were chosen from as many as six bidders which had made offers in March….

…The government expects a big upfront payment, with most of the money used to pay off some of the $900 million of outstanding debt issued by Puerto Rico’s cash-strapped Ports Authority….

…This is the second large public-private deal Puerto Rico is working on. Last year, the U.S. commonwealth undertook a 40-year concession for roadways PR22 and PR5 to Metropistas.

11 bidders vie for youth prison project

Source: John Marino, caribbeanbusinesspr.com, May 17, 2012

Related:
P3 Authority opens RFQ process for juvenile correctional center
Source: Michelle Kantrow, newsismybusiness.com, March 23, 2012

Puerto Rico social PPP attracts 11 bidders
Source: Andy Thomson, Infrastructure Investor, 17 May 2012
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Puerto Rico juvenile centre PPP on fast track
Source: Infrastructure Investor, 23 March 2012
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The Puerto Rico Public Private Partnerships Authority has published an RFQ for a recently unveiled juvenile treatment facility in San Juan. The project is the first social infrastructure development in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Launches A Correctional Facility PPP Project

Source: Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority, Press Release, January 26, 2012

The Public-Private Partnership Authority (the “PPPA”), together with the
Puerto Rico Juvenile Institutions Administration (the “JIA”), has completed the initial step in the preparation for Puerto Rico’s first social infrastructure project under the P3 legislation enacted in June 2009. Specifically, the PPPA has released a feasibility and value for money analysis for a design-build-finance-maintain project for a juvenile social treatment facility in Puerto Rico.
See also:
Desirability and Convenience Study for a New Juvenile Social Treatment Facility
Source: Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority, January 2012