- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Puerto Rico Suspends Debt Payments for Island’s Highway Authority

© AP Photo / Ricardo ArduengoCars drive along the junction of PR-52 and PR-22 highways in San Juan, Puerto Rico (File)
Cars drive along the junction of PR-52 and PR-22 highways in San Juan, Puerto Rico (File) - Sputnik International
Puerto Rico Transportation Authority is banned from transferring money collected from toll payments to debt holders, the executive’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, about the meaning of democratic socialism and other topics - Sputnik International
Sanders Vows to Offer Puerto Rico Independence Option if Elected President
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (ACT), restricting the agency from transferring money collected from toll payments to debt holders, the executive’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

"With this state of emergency declaration, [I] suspend any obligations toward funding certain financial obligations and will authorize the implementation of extraordinary measures needed to guarantee the continuation of essential community services for [Puerto Rican] citizens," Padilla stated in the statement.

The move is intended to ensure the safety of the Puerto Rico’s roads by allowing redirecting toll collections to construction projects rather than paying down the ACT’s $2.2 billion debt, the statement explained.

In this May 4, 2012 photo, the flags of Puerto Rico and the U.S. wave behind an English one-way traffic sign in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, one of only a few places in Puerto Rico with street signs in English - Sputnik International
Debt Crisis in Puerto Rico Requires Urgent Congress Response
Padilla explained that the ACT needs about $25 million per month for operational expenses, and about $150 million to pay its suppliers for construction projects.

Furthermore, the order imposes a stay on lawsuits by bondholders, the governor noted.

Padilla also reiterated a call to the US Congress to take immediate action to allow for the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt.

Puerto Rico first defaulted on its $73 billion debt in August 2015, and defaulted again on May 11 when it missed a $422 million payment. The US territory has been beset by financial problems that affect healthcare and other services as well as economic growth.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала