Jenniffer Gonzalez inspects work in Fort Buchanan product of a $81.6 million investment
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico -The federal funds, obtained by the Congresswoman, Jenniffer González Colón for the reconstruction of facilities affected by hurricanes Irma and María at Fort Buchanan result in an important boost to the economy of Puerto Rico being 80 percent of the local contractors.
According to the Army, investments in Federal Funds for Fort Buchanan have multiplier effect that translates into more than $175 million for the local economy in permanent improvements and future projects over a five-year period.
The congresswoman visited Fort Buchanan today inspect the ongoing projects and discuss the needs and priorities of the facilities.
One of the first matters for which the Army asked the resident commissioner for support was to obtain ownership of the 10-acre lake within the facilities of Fort Buchanan, that belonged to the private entity Cement Company of Mexico (CEMEX) since 2002. The fact that a private and foreign business owned a property within a military installation required that additional security measures be taken; in addition, the Fort could not comply with regulations of the Army itself on bodies of water within the facilities.
Today’s ribbon cutting officializes the acquisition of the lake by the federal government.
The Congresswoman, the mayor of Guaynabo, Angel Perez, and representatives of the municipality of Bayamón met with officers of the Fort, among them Brigadier, General Dustin Shultz , to discuss possible collaborative agreements that could result in the use of the municipal governments of the military installation.
Within the works underway at the Fort, they visited the Child Development and Youth Center whose first stone was placed by the commissioner in May 2017. This center had an investment of more than $ 14,433.00 million, it would be the first center like this in any other installation of the armed forces.
The Army presented its construction projects, in process and in the near future, in Fort Buchanan for which they asked the commissioner for their support so that they can be viable within the budgets of the next fiscal years.
For projects with funds already allocated for fiscal year 2017/2018 totaling $ 39.1 million, 65 percent of the contractors are local. For the projects related to Hurricane Maria reconstruction, the commissioner raised $ 16.5 million, of which 80 percent of the contractors are also local. The Army points out that the other percent’s, even though they are companies based outside, the jobs are local.
According to risk mitigation studies, Fort Buchanan is required to have 52 residences, for which on September 14, González Colón announced the approval of $26 million for the construction of 26 new family units in Fort Buchanan. These funds come from the first Joint Assignment Project ("minibus") for Fiscal Year 2019 (Public Law 115-245).
The second project would be a new super clinic to provide better services to the population of Fort Buchanan composed of 6,706 soldiers, between reservists and full time; about 15,000 active members, additional reservists and the National Guard; over 116,029 retirees in need of services and nearly 200,000 veterans.
The third project that is a priority for the Army is the construction of an access control point that faces the PR28 highway.
We added the $12 million that the Army sends for movements of the Reserve as part of the multiple capital investments.
"These numbers are another sign of Fort Buchanan's commitment to investing in the community, because they are part of it. In relation to federal contracting, these are good numbers and I hope that the percentages are sustained or increased thanks to the new federal law I worked on, the John McCain National Defense Law (PL 115-232), which seeks to be given priority to the companies based in Puerto Rico to contract with federal agencies in works carried out on the island, especially by the military bodies, " added the congresswoman.
González Colón stressed that, given the devastating consequences of the last hurricane season, the importance of the permanence of Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico has been demonstrated, for the benefit of civilians, the military, veterans and relatives. Fort Buchanan is the only active component of the United States Army throughout the Caribbean.