Federal funds assigned for access to Puerto Rico rainforest after Hurricane María
SAN JUAN – Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González announced Wednesday that $2.5 million in U.S. Department of Transportation funds have been assigned to address road access problems caused by hurricanes Irma and María around Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest.
González explained that the funds are allocated under the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program, which was created to assist federal agencies with the repair or reconstruction of tribal transportation facilities, transportation facilities on federal land and other federally owned roads that sustained significant damage in the wake of a natural disaster.
“The federal government continues to send resources to advance recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. El Yunque, the only tropical forest within the entire national forest system, has an incalculable ecological, tourism and cultural value. I thank the federal attention to our patrimony so that soon it can open again and its attributes can be enjoyed,” the resident commissioner said in a press conference.
Formerly called the Caribbean National Forest, El Yunque is managed by the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Forest Service. The area remains closed due to the devastation caused by the hurricanes. No opening date has yet been set because cleanup efforts and ecological and forest facility assessments are underway.