U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands Division

Home / About / Field Offices / Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands Division


FHWA Puerto Rico Division and US Virgin Islands Division plays a significant role in the implementation of Federal-aid highway projects from its inception to its construction, with responsibilities that include: estimating and controlling costs; ensuring the fulfillment of environmental and Federal requirements; obtaining adequate financing and the overall managing of the various parties involved in bringing the project to a successful completion (See Project Development Process chart). Under the general direction of the Associate Division Administrator, the Division staff has primary responsibility for overseeing the Federal-Aid Program in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. The team provides internal and external coordination for policy development related to new legislation, regulations and FHWA guidance. The team oversees new and emerging local program issues with our state partner, PRHTA. Through the success of the following programs, the Puerto Rico and US US Virgin Islands Division saves lives, reduce congestion and create jobs.

Puerto Rico Project Development Process

  1. Bridge / Structures (Hector Laureano)

    The Federal-Aid Bridge Program provides funding to assist the States in their efforts to preserve, rehabilitate, or restore the Nation's bridges.

    More information about the bridge programs can be found at FHWA Bridge Program.

  2. Civil Rights (Carey Shepherd)

    The Civil Rights Programs ensure fair and equitable treatment of all persons employed or affected by FHWA and the programs and activities of its recipients, sub-recipients, and contractors, irrespective of race, color, religion (in the context of employment), gender, national origin, age, or disability.

    More information about Civil Rights and all of its programs as American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE), Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counseling Program, and more can be found at FHWA Civil Rights Programs.

    Puerto Rico Highways & Transportation Authority (PRHTA) Civil Rights links:

  3. Construction (Greg Shelton)

    The engineering staff reviews and approves statewide design standards and construction standard specifications. Federal laws and regulations are interpreted to determine federal participation in project costs. FHWA engineers conduct joint reviews with the Puerto Rico Highways & Transportation Authority (PRHTA) and US Virgin Islands Department of Public Works to improve the quality of Puerto Rico’s highway program. The FHWA has an oversight responsibility in all federal-aid projects in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

    More information can be found at FHWA Construction Program

  4. Emergency Relief Program (ER) (Cristobal Afanador)

    The FHWA works with other federal, state, and local agencies to enhance the traveling public's security and the agency's ability to respond to and recover from emergencies and natural disasters. Roads and bridges on Federal-aid highways that are damaged as a direct result of a natural disaster or catastrophic failure are eligible for emergency relief (ER) funds. The ER Program provides funding to repair and restore highways facilities to pre disaster conditions. FHWA has an active role in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands team during an emergency.

    More information can be found at FHWA Emergency Relief Program.

    Emergency Relief documents:

  5. Environmental (Luis Lopez)

    Transportation planning and project development must reflect the desires of communities, and take into account the impacts on both the natural and human environments. Transportation projects are closely looked at to see how they might impact the community, the natural environment, and our health and welfare. Before any project can move forward to construction, the FHWA must address and comply with laws related to the environment. These laws cover social, economic, and environmental concerns ranging from community cohesion to threatened and endangered species. To get through this detailed process, FHWA and FTA use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to evaluate impacts associated with each individual project.

    More information can be found at FHWA Environment Program.

  6. Every Day Counts (EDC) (Greg Shelton)

    In 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) implemented the Every Day Counts initiative to shorten project delivery and expedite the deployment of proven technologies. The initiative’s goals are to create an innovative atmosphere among the transportation community to allow for a more efficient and effective delivery of projects to address the general public’s transportation needs. Teams from the Federal Highway Administration will work with state, local, and industry partners to deploy the initiatives and will develop performance measures to gauge their success.

    More information can be found at FHWA Every Day Counts Program.

  7. Finance (Michael Figueroa)

    The Federal-Aid Highway Program is a reimbursable program; that is, the Federal Government only reimburses States for costs actually incurred. Funding for highway projects are drawn from the Highway Trust Fund which was created in 1956. Revenue for the Trust Fund is derived from dedicated highway user fees such as taxes on fuel, tires, and truck sales. Trust fund monies are distributed or "apportioned" to the States according to formulas written into "authorizing" legislation by Congress. These formulas are based on various factors including cost to complete the Interstate System, lane miles, vehicle miles of travel, population, historic levels of funding, and the States’ share of receipts into the Highway Trust Fund.

    The Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands Division provides reimbursement to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Government of US Virgin Islands for authorized transportation projects in accordance with the legislative requirements of financial assistance programs. We administer these programs through a set of flexible regulations, policies, and guidelines to ensure that Federal funds are being used efficiently and to achieve the safety, economic development, and other goals of the Federal-aid Highway Program. In providing these Federal funds, we apply the most flexible and innovative financing techniques permissible under the law, and the most efficient administrative processes. We provide the State and Territories with technical assistance on accounting and financial management systems, and through our innovative program delivery tools, work closely with the Puerto Rico Highways & Transportation Authority (PRHTA ), USVI Department of Public Works, and Public Facilities to streamline and improve the funding of Federal-aid highway projects.

    More information can be found at FHWA Innovative Finance Program.

  8. Pavement and Materials (Migdalia Carrión)

    The Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands Division Pavement and Materials specialist works closely with the State in assuring the quality of materials and ensuring that pavements accommodate current and predicted traffic needs in a safe, durable, and cost effective manner. In line with the above, some specific areas are as follows:

    • Quality Assurance Procedures
    • Pavement Management / Pavement Design Strategies
    • Transportation Asset Management
    • Technician Specification Committee (Review / Develop Specs)

    More information about can be found at FHWA Pavement Program and FHWA Materials Program.

  9. Planning (Luis Lopez)

    The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 established a requirement for a statewide planning process. Among other things, the economic, energy, environmental, and social effects of transportation decisions must be considered in the planning process. The ISTEA strengthened the metropolitan planning process by giving more emphasis to intermodal planning, coordination with land-use planning and development, and consideration of economic, energy, environmental, and social effects. The integration of the transportation and air quality planning processes was also strengthened. The metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) must develop long-range transportation plans, and in the air quality non-attainment areas, coordinate with the development of the transportation control measures in the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for achieving air quality goals.

    More information can be found at FHWA Planning Program.

    Planning documents and maps:
  10. Right-of-Way (Michael Figueroa)

    Highways affect people’s lives by improving safety and the way we move about our communities and county. We realize that to improve highways and carry out other transportation programs, some people's lives are disrupted because their land, home, or business may have to make way for a project.

    More information can be found at FHWA Realty programs.

  11. Operation (Juan Carlos Rivera) / Safety (Grace Díaz)

    The FHWA is responsible for carrying out several highway safety programs. These safety programs provide funding for projects which remove, relocate, or shield roadside obstacles, identify and correct hazardous locations, eliminate or reduce hazards at railroad crossings, and improve signing, pavement markings, and signalization. The Agency promotes and administers highway-related safety guidelines providing for the identification and surveillance of accident locations; highway design, construction, and maintenance; traffic engineering services; and highway-related aspects of pedestrian safety. In Puerto Rico, we work closely with State of Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to improve the safety of the motoring public, pedestrians, and highway workers.

    Puerto Rico’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan

    The Strategic Highway Safety Plan, or SHSP, is a statewide, data-driven plan that provides a coordinated framework for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on all Puerto Rico’s public roads. The SHSP strategically establishes statewide goals, objectives, challenge areas, and key actions to address Puerto Rico’s most pressing safety problems, and builds upon the strategies established by federal, state, regional, local, and private sector safety stakeholders from throughout the state.

    More information can be found at Puerto Rico Strategic Highway Safety Plan.

    Puerto Rico’s Highway Safety Improvement Program

    The primary purpose of the program is to provide a coordinated national highway safety program through financial assistance to the State that will accelerate traffic safety programs. The program requires that a state maintain a safety program in accordance with uniform standards established by the Secretary of Transportation.

    Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)

    Highway engineering organizations and the motoring public are requiring timely, accurate, and readily accessible information on the extent of congestion.

    More information can be found at Live Traffic in Puerto Rico Highways.

    ITS logo

    Highway Safety Manual

    The Highway Safety Manual (HSM) introduces a science-based technical approach that takes the guesswork out of safety analysis. The HSM provides tools to conduct quantitative safety analyses, allowing for safety to be quantitatively evaluated alongside other transportation performance measures, such as traffic operations, environmental impacts, and construction costs.

    For example, the HSM provides a method to quantify changes in crash frequency as a function of cross-sectional features of a roadway. With this method, the expected change in crash frequency of different design alternatives can be compared with the operational benefits or environmental impacts of the same alternatives. As another example, the costs of constructing a left-turn lane on a two-lane road can be compared to the safety benefits in terms of reducing a certain number of crashes.

    The HSM will support states' progress toward Federal, state and local safety goals to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. As public agencies work toward their safety goals, the quantitative methods in the HSM can be used to evaluate which programs and project improvements are achieving their intended results, and agencies can reallocate funds toward those with the greatest safety benefits.

    More information can be found on the HSM and to participate in the national dialogue on HSM applications, go to: www.highwaysafetymanual.org

  12. Value Engineering (VE) (Cristobal Afanador)

    Federal, State and local highway agencies are responsible for getting the best overall project value for the taxpayer. Applying the Value Engineer (VE) process can help them achieve this purpose. A Value Engineer analysis can be defined as the systematic process of reviewing and assessing a project, during the planning and design phases, by a multidisciplinary team not directly involved in the planning and design phases of the project. The VE analysis is conducted to provide recommendations for providing the needed functions, considering all aspects of the project, improving the value and quality of the project and reducing the time to develop and deliver the project. On February 14, 1997, the FHWA published its VE regulations in 23 CFR 627 formally establishing the FHWA VE Program along with the requirement that State Transportation Agencies (STA's) create and sustain a VE Program. Section 1503(a) (3) of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), made some significant changes to the types of projects requiring a VE analysis. The changes to applicable projects include:

    • Projects on the National Highway System (NHS) receiving Federal assistance with an estimated total cost of $50,000,000 or more;
    • Bridge projects on the NHS receiving Federal assistance with an estimated total cost of $40,000,000 or more; and
    • VE analysis is no longer required for projects delivered using the design/build method of construction.

    More information can be found at FHWA Value Engineering Program.

Page last modified on October 30, 2019
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000