Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives has approved a bill that would increase the excise tax on a barrel of crude oil by 68 percent.
The approval comes two days after Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced that lawmakers had reached a consensus on the measure. García had said public transportation in the U.S. territory would have been paralyzed if legislators did not approve the bill.
The increase from $9.25 to $15.50 tax per barrel is expected to generate $178 million a year. The Senate planned to debate the measure Tuesday night.
Supporters said the oil tax boost is needed to help sell up to $2.9 billion in bonds and strengthen the finances of the island’s struggling Highway and Transportation Authority. It owes $2.2 billion to the island’s Government Development Bank.