PR construction spending gains ground
“After six years in negative territory, this sector began to rise again in 2011,” Planning Board President Rubén Flores Marzán said.
The agency chief said construction spending topped $3.84 billion last year, a $173.5 million (4.7 percent) increase over the 2010 mark.
The upswing was due primarily by public spending on schools and other works and a boost in private-sector investment in renewable energy projects, Flores Marzán said.
Public sector spending on construction topped $2 billion in fiscal 2011, a 10 percent increase over the 2010 tally of $1.83 billion.
Central government construction spending of $565.4 million in fiscal 2011 was driven primarily by the Transportation & Public Works Department, which spent $261.1 million to build new roads and another $114.9 million on repairs.
The Department of Natural & Environmental Resources used nearly $94 million on flood-control projects.<
Public spending on buildings surged 61.5 percent to $192.3 million in fiscal 2011. That rested on Public Buildings Authority investment of $139.6 million — $104.5 million through the Schools for the 21st Century program and $35.1 million on other facilities.
Private-sector investment slipped 1.6 percent to $1.8 billion in fiscal 2011. While housing continued to slump, renewable energy emerged as a bright spot with significant spending on solar and wind projects.
“It is important to note that renewable energy projects boosted private sector investment by some $217.8 million in 2011,” Flores Marzán said.
A range of solar and wind farm projects are under development by private businesses that have inked power-purchase agreements with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
Investment in commercial and industrial facilities held stable, largely thanks to renovation and construction of hotels.
The Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority invested $328 million in capital works, while the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority spent $411.5 million, according to the Planning Board.
Municipal governments invested a combined $325.6 million on construction, a 16 percent increase over the previous year.
“While we still have a long way to go, we can see that many components of the construction industry are showing positive signs,” Flores Marzán said. “This shows that our economy is on track for a sustained recovery.”