Friday, September 25, 2020

$20.5 Million Earmarked For Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Recovery Projects

By on December 30, 2019

Section 406 of the Stafford Act allows funding of mitigation measures that go beyond restoring a facility to its pre-disaster condition and is applied only to the damaged element of the facility.  (CB Archives)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the commonwealth Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction & Resiliency (COR3) announced Sunday the allocation of $20.5 million for the design of 37 projects related to the recovery of Puerto Rico.

In a joint press release, the two agencies reported that the funds for the architectural and engineering design of the projects will be broken down as follows:

  • $6.7 million for administrative costs
  • $6 million for emergency protection methods
  • $5.1 million for repairs of roads and bridges
  • $1.3 million for repairs to public buildings and equipment
  • $1.2 million for repairs to parks and community recreational installations
  • $50,000 for public service repairs

The funds assigned to permanent works include projects such as roads, bridges, water control installations, buildings and equipment, public services and parks and recreational installations, according to what is authorized by Section 406 of the Robert T Stafford Act. Section 406 of the Stafford Act allows funding of mitigation measures that go beyond restoring a facility to its pre-disaster condition and is applied only to the damaged element of the facility.  

Last week, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced the creation of a $100 million State Recovery Fund (SRF) with the aim of providing cash advances starting early next year to Puerto Rico’s municipalities and nonprofit organizations to complete more than 3,500 smaller post-hurricane permanent reconstruction projects that do not exceed cost estimates of $123,100 each.

The fund, created with reassigned monies from the commonwealth general fund budget that were authorized by the Financial Oversight & Management Board (FOMB), will be supervised by COR3) “to provide sustainable and continuous liquidity” to these small projects in lieu of anticipated but delayed federal post-hurricane reconstruction funding, the governor said. COR3 has targeted 3,516 small projects that do not exceed cost estimates of $123,100, according to standards set by FEMA. The SFR would function as a revolving fund, given that it would be replenished with FEMA reimbursements these projects should gradually receive as they are completed.

The first 1,316 projects with estimated costs of $54 million – which have cleared the first stages of the joint COR3-FEMA project eligibility process — should receive funding in three to five months, COR3 Executive Director Ottmar Chávez said. Most of these projects – 1,228 – involve infrastructure and properties under the jurisdiction of 71 municipalities, while another 87 projects involve reconstruction of damaged properties belonging to nonprofit organizations.

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