Governor Bryan Celebrates Historic Initiative by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS—Hours after delivering his sixth State of the Territory Address, Governor Albert Bryan joined White House officials, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leadership, Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenifer González-Colon and representatives from the office of Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi for the official commissioning of the first-ever U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Task force for the Caribbean region.

Tuesday’s ceremony marked a significant step forward in streamlining and expediting the permitting process for major projects in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

Task Force VIPR was created to organize and prioritize construction projects efficiently throughout the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 

The endeavor was made possible by the allocation of billions in federal funds, the largest sum in the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for projects in the American Caribbean region by The South Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which oversees construction activities in this vital area.

In the wake of recent natural disasters that have impacted the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, there is an increased demand for civil works, military construction, inter-agency collaboration, international support, and environmental programs. This has resulted in substantial growth of projects and funding for our region’s construction programs.

Governor Bryan acknowledged that establishing Task Force VIPR is an unprecedented development in two crucial aspects. 

Firstly, it marks the first time a commander with the rank of colonel will lead a district-sized task force on the island of Puerto Rico. Secondly, the program now boasts more projects and funding than ever in the history of USACE engagement in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The leadership structure of Task Force VIPR will be dedicated to overseeing all current and future civil projects within its area of operation. Governor Bryan emphasizes the importance of this initiative in expediting critical infrastructure improvements in both territories, highlighting the integral role these projects play in our economies and daily lives.

“This historic move by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a testament to their commitment to the well-being of our communities. We rely on the efficient execution of these projects to enhance our infrastructure and ensure the prosperity of our residents. Task Force VIPR is a significant stride towards achieving these goals, and we are grateful for the support and funding that make it all possible,” Governor Bryan said.

With Task Force VIPR now in place, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are poised for a brighter future with improved infrastructure and accelerated project delivery, ultimately benefitting the people and economies of both territories.