Puerto Rico’s Failing Infrastructure: A Top Priority


hi welcome to another episode of MYD Global I’m your host Leann Hackman- Carty- those of you who were following
Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma you know that a number of
infrastructure systems would have been compromised. My guest today is Hector Colon-De La Cruz and he is the current President of the Puerto Rican Section of
the American Society of Civil Engineers. Recently they released a first report
card on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure so stay tuned as I talk to Hector about the
results and provide a link for you so you can download the report so stay
tuned Hey Hector great to see you again how
are you doing today pretty good good thanks for taking the
time to speak to us today in particular about that report you guys recently
released but before we get started can you just tell the viewers a little bit
about yourself hi yeah so I am Hector Colon-De La Cruz and I have been involved with the ASCE for a few years now
I did civil engineering at the university and hopefully with this report
card will change for a good sign yeah well so Hector recently I met you
when you were you were actually I think there’s a day released the final report
but it’s a report card that you the American Society of Civil Engineers in
Puerto Rico did for the infrastructure and so can you explain a little bit
about the report what it’s meant to look at what it’s meant to achieve yeah I’ll
go very overall general so the American Society of Civil Engineers is a
nonprofit organization we’re improving the civil engineering profession but
they also work with quality of life and they do this by creating different type
of work environments or programs specifically that infrastructure report
card which is a report card that basically gives an x-ray and gives and
let us know how the infrastructure is working in the back it’s been done in 44
states including Washington DC after it basically consists in 80 criterias and
16 different infrastructure categories for our first infrastructure report
first Porto Rico infrastructure report card we assessed only eight different
infrastructure categories so what can you recall offhand with the 8r or yeah
so we have eight Tcat criteria that we use to analyze write or rate our
infrastructure report infrastructures based giving them a great just like a
school from 8 to NF so we basically the our key criteria our capacity Phoenician
operational maintenance funding resilience innovation Public Safety and
others for our first infrastructure report card first portal infrastructure
report card we graded bridges dams drinking water energy ports roads so the
waste and waste water okay so that that’s a lot of things to look at so
overall what were the findings like was it surprising what you found or probably
what you expected ah if I answered your questions I can’t forget to mention you
can access the document at www infrastructure report card org slash
Porto Rico ok perfect I will put that in the bottom of the video description so
people can definitely access it and find out more yeah and if you go to our
website you can also find that other reporters have been done in the States
over the years it’s not only for ecozone it’s justthis
United States and childhood almost entirely right so when you do this
report card do you present it to the government of Puerto Rico or what what
is it meant to do so this report card is actually based on poet Vega de poule
information when available so mostly we work with the government agencies to
help them assess the things that we need to work on with the infrastructure so we
present this report it’s a very simple findings we write it down as a very
simple format every time everyone can understand and we then introduce it to
the Capitol to the Congress in that states and Perico will to the Senate and
the house okay and so are there recommendations it’s just a report cards
so say you looked at bridges you gave them a grade did you give
recommendations as to how they might increase their grade or get a better
grade if they were to do certain things yeah of course so the document the
report card overall here in Perico and back States they gave they give right
and great to the infrastructure but more currently they give recommendations on
how to raise it well most of the time we are on the side of the government right
we try to help the government and the agencies so we basically have five
different recommendations for all infrastructures and we have specific
recommendations for every infrastructure you can’t find them all in the document
okay so so where would you think that the greatest opportunities for Puerto
Rico are in the future in particular when it comes to
infrastructure so right now I see no where as you may know and it’s not well
freakish rebuilding post eureka maria he was
national disaster basically so our opportunities that’s right now by
rebuilding presumably by better planning by third is doing better man if asset
management life cycle cost analysis so partly is that yeah we have to invest
but we have to invest correctly we have to plan so by doing turns in the future
we can actually improve our quality of life and economic side and opportunities
like commercial opportunities worldwide or l-listen the Caribbean no that’s
fantastic because really you know post-hurricane government’s looking for
reports like this specific surround you need to rebuild this bridge in this area
to increase commerce or you know those kinds of recommendations are definitely
helpful especially when you’re trying to attract investment or funding from
government different government departments
right right right so most of the time where the Sun sir strikes we’re not
ready where we have a plan to mitigate possible outcomes were but it is
important that we actually plan for a disaster and have an assessment on every
possible infrastructure and outcomes that way we’re basically prepared for
what’s gonna happen so by creating a multi infrastructure long-term plan
where we actually understand how the infrastructures Porto Rico well
liabilities and how we can work for it we can be better prepared but investing
$1 in basically in Brazilians we can save six in infrastructure rebuilding
pose a both national disasters yeah and that’s exactly the statistic I hear all
the time too and I think what a great return on investment if you were to put
$1 upfront and save that six I hear sometimes seven dollars on that recovery
is this a report that you will be doing every
year or how often will you do this kind of report so we’re we try to do it every
four years this is the first time so in the next four years will try to release
our report card and we’ll try to do with more infrastructures as I told you we
created eight different infrastructure yeah we’re next
reporter we’ll try to do maybe 10 or chof yeah but at least you have a
baseline now that you can measure later and and use for your funding and your
plan going ahead which is great I’m looking forward to reading the report is
there anything else you want to say before we wrap up anything maybe that
was a surprise to you or something you really yeah so we actually so the Afra
structure works both ways it’s a mutual agreement and having a good quality of
infrastructure because two things one well three things
economics part of life and post a natural disaster recovery efforts will
be definitely will be definite that is directly impacted but how effexor sure
is working how the infrastructure is super and how we prepare for emergency
action plans for resiliency for global warming
so etc so actually am Frasure is super important is out there in the education
and health a level of importance yeah yeah well I think a lot of times when
you infrastructure such a thing that when it’s there people don’t notice it’s
when it’s not there and not working that they really notice so you know if you if
all this and your bridges out of your road is is compromised or you know your
wastewater treatment center isn’t working your your water you don’t have
access to clean drinking water even those are such basic needs for people if
they want to do business and and stay living in an air
but you know so I commend the work you’re doing in this area and helping
you know to put Berto Rico on a path of sustainability and really giving some of
that basic infrastructure back and running and more resilient I think
that’s really important so are you you know for you have you lived in Puerto
Rico your whole life I actually live in Perico my whole life but I’ve made some
work outside of the mainland so I know the differences and what we have to work
oh yeah sorry both you barriga and united states so
it’s very interesting to see how we can progress and how can a civilization time
progress and actually prepared for the worst to come if it’s it’s we if we have
to prepare for something yeah um I want to remind everyone that we’re here to
help them we’re here to help the government help the people so if you
have any doubts you can contact me through ASCE just call the
government relations office and they will direct you to me that’s awesome
well and we’ll leave it at that then I will make sure and put your
organization’s website as well so people can get in touch with you they can
download the report and I’m looking forward to seeing your progress over the
next immediate to long term because I know you’ve got some fantastic
organizations there some very smart individuals and a beautiful country with
beautiful islands so I wish you all the best
yeah thank you so likewise hey thanks very much for your time Hector you

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