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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 FHWA Civil Rights Program seeks to ensure equity and nondiscrimination in FHWA-assisted services and activities of State DOTs and their sub-recipients. Included in the program are the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Contactor Compliance, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), On-the-Job Training (OJT), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and two discretionary grant programs to support DBE and OJT.

    • For more information about the FHWA Civil Rights Program, contact Carey or visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/civilrights/.
    • To learn more about PRHTA's implementation of civil rights requirements in the FHWA-assisted highway program, contact the Oficina de Derechos Civiles (ODC) at 787-721-8787 extension 1740, or visit the ODC webpage at https://act.dtop.pr.gov/civil-rights/.
    • For information about nondiscrimination in the FHWA-assisted territorial program of US Virgin Islands, contact Carey or visit the VI Department of Public Works (VIDPW) civil rights website at https://dpw.vi.gov/civil-rights/.
  3. Construction (Yamayra Rodriguez)

    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) (Juan Carlos Rivera)

    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 (Vacant)

    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. USVI Territorial Program Manager (Andres Alvarez)

    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 (Soniangeli Rodriguez)

    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 the States a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. Which includes transit and highway projects for both urbanized and non-urbanized (rural) areas, thus covering all of Puerto Rico. Programmed projects result from a planning process that is in accordance with 23 USC 420 and 511, 49 USC and all other relevant federal or Commonwealth legislation.

    We (FHWA) work closely with our State partner to ensure the transportation process and decisions are made in a way that strikes a balance between fulfilling our societal needs in an environmentally sensitive way, using a comprehensive planning process that includes the public and considers land use, development, safety, and security.

    More information can be found at FHWA Planning Program.

    Other Planning links:

  10. Right-of-Way (Vacant)

    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)

  12. The PR and USVI Operations Program works closely with the State DOT and other partners to improve the management and operation of the transportation system.  We provide technical assistance to assist the State DOT in areas such as: Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), traffic operations, freight management, MUTCD, sign retro-reflectivity, highway signs, traffic signals, roadside maintenance, and work zone traffic control devices safety.  Additional information about can be found in the FHWA Office of Operations and the USDOT ITS Joint Program Office websites.

    The PR and USVI Safety Program’s purpose is to improve highway safety; the promotion, coordination and transfer of safety technology; and oversight of the various safety programs.  The Division works in coordination with the State DOT, State’s Traffic Safety Commission, among other partners and stakeholders, to foster and sustain a culture of safety, identify safety needs, and deliver programs that focus on roadway safety designs and policies, technologies, and analytical processes that improve highway safety performance.  Part of the Division’s Safety Program areas include:  roadside safety hardware, identification and correction of hazardous locations,  the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), and the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).  Additional information can be found in the FHWA Office of Safety website.

    Other Operations and Safety links:

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  13. 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.

  14. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Coordinator (BIL) (Guerra, Lisell)

    Construction and Contract Adm / North and Metro Construction Region

Page last modified on August 8, 2023
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000