Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said his administration will invest almost $2 billion in public works in the next 18 months and will work to bolster the economy. Garcia Padilla is proposing a mass transit connection be built between San Juan and Caguas, a city about 12 miles south of San Juan, for $400 million. This would link Caguas with Tren Urbano in San Juan, the Caribbean’s only subway system. Under plans outlined in Garcia Padilla’s state of the state and budget address on Thursday, the government also will invest $100 million in a cancer center and create a “City of Science” in a former penitentiary.
Puerto Rico currently has a 14.2% unemployment rate and municipal bond analysts say that the territory’s economy must improve for its government to become fiscally healthy. Since December, all the major rating agencies lowered the commonwealth’s general obligation debt rating to just above a speculative grade.