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Puerto Rico’s $74 Billion Burden Left It Helpless When Maria Hit

  • Years of crushing debt and dwindling budgets took their toll
  • Roads and utilities crumbled, and ranks of rescuers thinned
Bloomberg business news

Fuss: Bondholders Need to Get Real on Puerto Rico

Year after year, as Puerto Rico’s government drew ever closer to ruin, it cut hundreds of millions of dollars from roads, schools and other public works.

It neglected the electricity system, leaving it dilapidated and prone to prolonged outages. The water utility, which was leaking untreated sewage, put a $1.4 billion construction plan on hold. At least 5,800 police and firefighting jobs were cut. Unable to cover its share, Puerto Rico lost federal funds for work on its 4,800 miles (7,700 kilometers) of roads.