USVI to refinance bonds to save public pension system

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands signed a bill Wednesday to refinance more than $800 million worth of bonds following numerous attempts to save a public pension system that officials say faces collapse.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said the savings from improved interest rates would help stabilize the pension system for at least 30 years. Nearly 9,000 government retirees and 8,000 active workers rely on the public pension system, which officials warned could run out of funds by 2024 or sooner without a fix.

The signing marks Bryan’s fourth and final attempt to save the pension system, which has nearly $6 billion in unfunded liabilities. If the refinancing is successful, it is expected to generate some $4 billion total for the system.

Given poor credit ratings in recent years, the U.S. Virgin Islands has not been able to access the bond market to raise money for things including infrastructure improvements and the public pension system.

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