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White House Steps Up Aid for Financially Ailing Puerto Rico

The White House will provide more technical assistance from Washington and more immediate access to money to keep road projects on schedule
By The News · 25 of February 2016 09:24:16
File photo of a man waving a national flag as others stand nearby during a protest in San Juan, A man waves a national flag as others stand nearby during a protest in San Juan in this May 13, 2015 file photo. Puerto Rico on January 29, 2016 presented a plan to creditors that asks them to take a deep discount on their debt - an aggregate of around 45 percent, two sources familiar with the situation said, as the debt-ridden island tries to pull itself out of fiscal crisis. REUTERS/Alvin Baez/Files, No available

WASHINGTON — The White House says it will step up support for financially ailing Puerto Rico by speeding access to almost $400 million for roads and other public works projects — hoping to spur economic development.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is visiting the island on Thursday. Other Cabinet secretaries are expected to follow in the months ahead as the Obama administration.

The White House says Foxx will sign an agreement that leads to more technical assistance from Washington and more immediate access to money to keep road projects on schedule.

But the White House also says Congress needs to give Puerto Rico the ability to seek bankruptcy protection under a framework reserved exclusively for U.S. territories.

Puerto Rico has $72 billion in public debt that the governor has said is unpayable.