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Economists Pin Hurricane Maria Damages at $20 Billion

Technical Studies, a respected Puerto Rico economic consulting firm has estimated that the territory losses from Hurricane Maria are at least $20 billion.

The estimate is based on a formula instead of a compilation of established costs. It also does not include all elements of the economy, such as tourism.

Housing losses were put at $16.594 billion, electrical infrastructure at $1.6 billion, telecommunications infrastructure at $200 million; transportation infrastructure at $120 million, and water infrastructure at $75 million.

Governmental losses were put at $1.168 and agricultural at $145 million. Losses in other sectors of the economy were projected to be at least $1 billion.

Technical Studies President Joaquin Villamil said the rebuilding costs would be much larger – perhaps $50 billion to $90 billion.

In addition, Villamil says that it will now take 12-13 more years for Puerto Rico’s GNP to reach the level it was at when it’s current economic depression began, which was in the spring of 2006. Earlier this year, Villamil projected that the economy would continue to shrink until 2025-2027.

Governor Ricardo Rossello has scaled back his requests for special Federal assistance. After seeking $30 billion, he is now asking the Congress to immediately appropriate $4.6 billion and the U.S. Treasury Department to guarantee $5 billion in borrowing. He asserted that the territorial government will run out of money by the end of this month.


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