Additional federal funds granted to Puerto Rico for Hurricane María recovery
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Friday that the White House has granted additional funds for the removal of vegetative material after Hurricane Maria and emergency measures.
On Sept. 26, President Trump authorized a 100 percent federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance (DFA), for 180 days from the date of the declaration.
Under the president’s order, the time period for 100 percent federal funding for debris removal, including DFA, has been extended for 90 days, and the period for 100 percent federal funding for emergency protective measures, including federal assistance, has been extended for 60 days, a White House release says about categories A and B of the Stafford Disaster Aid and Emergency Assistance Act.
“The recovery work of the Island continues. The extension of availability for these funds demonstrates the confidence of the federal government in the recovery work that is being carried out by the Government of Puerto Rico,” the governor said in a statement.
The availability of the funds is expected to save the commonwealth government and the island’s municipalities millions of dollars in matching funds.
“The approval of the extension of Categories A and B, as well as of the DFA, will allow the critical work to continue in Puerto Rico, without concern for the municipal capacity and the State Government to pay the shared cost,” reads the governor’s office release. “These funds will also help accelerate the recovery, by preventing a transition of DFA work from the federal departments and agencies responsible to the Government of Puerto Rico while the work is being carried out.”
The 90-day extension to Category A includes debris removal and monitoring efforts carried out by municipalities and state agencies such as the Transportation & Public Works Department, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The 60-day extension for Category B includes work to reduce or eliminate threats to life, public health or safety, as well as measures that can reduce the threat of significant additional damage to property.
Frequent expenses in this category include temporary emergency power supply; food and water distribution; payment to Police, firefighter and other first responders involved in disaster-related efforts “to protect life, health and property”; guaranteeing emergency access; and work safety requirements related to the disaster (placement of barriers, fences, costs of applying the law).