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Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is downplaying the island's debt crisis as he makes his pitch for U.S. statehood, and says that not only does the island territory have a plan to service its debt, but that becoming America's 51st state would not add to the already high per-capita debt load of U.S. citizens.
"We have a fiscal plan with a clear direction," Rossello told the Washington Examiner during a recent interview in Washington. "We've identified what moneys are available for debt service. Those are — that's what's going to be used to pay our creditors."
Rossello - Government - Plan - Alliances - Leasing
Rossello confirmed that his government has embarked on a plan to establish public-private alliances, essentially the leasing of public properties, including seaports, regional airports and other facilities for periods of 25 to 30 years.
"That is not to say that we are selling assets," Rossello said. "We are actually arriving at arrangements with the private sector so that they can have access to either generating infrastructure, gaining some money, but the actual assets become part of the state."
Example - Island - Need - Energy - Generation
For example, he said the island is in need of energy generation, but the infrastructure for such a project would cost about $800 million.
"So what we do is we have a bid for the private sector to come in, to build that structure, to generate that energy, make profit off of that energy generation, which would actually be a reduction in the costs for the energy of the people of Puerto Rico," Rossello said.
Plan - Government - Bids - Summer - Rossello
The plan could allow the government to secure $500 million in bids just this summer, though Rossello did not specify how the profits from the plan would be spent.
Rossello proposed a 2018 budget of $9.6 billion in late May, but the congressionally sanctioned financial board is currently mulling over next steps toward repaying its debts.
But Rossello says...
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