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DNER To Invest $45 Million In Flood Control Projects


May 3, 2001
Copyright © 2001 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

More than half of the budget slated for the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) for fiscal year starting in July will go to flood control. A top priority this year, DNER will spend more than $45 million among 11 flood control projects.

Investment on flood control projects the 2001-2002 fiscal year will increase 18% over $38 million spent last fiscal year and represents an increase of 125% over $20 million invested in 1999-2000.

"The governor first recommended a budget cut, but it was increased after we presented the department’s needs and I believe it will be increased even more," said DNER Secretary Carlos Padin. DNER’s total consolidated budget for the year is $81 million, an increase of 17.4% compared to the $69 million that Gov. Sila Calderon initially recommended in March and a 5% increase over DNER’s budget of $77 million last year, noted Padin.

"Budget increases only apply to flood control projects," he continued. "These [flood control projects] are extremely important because a population is at risk because of floods. Economic damages [due to floods] are greater to the local economy if we don’t protect these areas."

"There are numerous special communities located in flood-prone areas. The first thing to stimulate economic development is to control these floods so these communities can invest in homes, commerce, and industries," he said, citing Toa Baja and Salinas as examples. "These municipalities can’t really prosper because they are completely in flood prone areas. Every time there is a flood, the economic impact is brutal, eventually deteriorating their possibilities."

"We will work on 11 big flood control projects this year, one of most importance is the Martin Peña Canal, in addition to the maintenance of rivers and creeks," he said. Flood control projects are located in Ponce, Puerto Nuevo, San Juan, Dorado, Manati, Humacao, Barceloneta, Arecibo, Añasco, and Guanajibo.

According to Padin, DNER’s regular budget is $50 million to $55 million. "Last year the budget increased," he said, "because in every election year, the government boosts budgets."

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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