Sunday, November 17, 2019

FEMA May Extend Puerto Rico Project Estimates Deadline

By on September 4, 2019

COR3 Working with Federal Agency to Prepare Requests Beyond Oct. 11

Editor’s note: See the full report on the Sept. 5, 2019, issue of Caribbean Business.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is evaluating requests by commonwealth agencies and municipalities for an extension to the Oct. 11 deadline to complete cost estimates for repairs and permanent work projects at hurricane-damaged sites throughout Puerto Rico—thousands of which are still being evaluated.

“The [Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction & Resiliency (COR3)] and the Puerto Rico government are working closely with FEMA to evaluate the deadline, and to prepare extension requests beyond Oct. 11, specific to projects and applicants,” Gregory Bosko, FEMA infrastructure branch director for Puerto Rico, said in a written statement to Caribbean Business, in which he did not identify the applicants or projects requesting the deadline pushback.

“COR3 [and the] commonwealth are currently evaluating these timelines and specific project needs for the purposes of any extension requests,” Bosko added.

Some 50,027 sites on the island damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 are being evaluated to determine costs for emergency repairs and permanent work projects as of Aug. 26, according to Bosko. In February, then-COR3 Director Omar Marrero said 90,000 damaged sites were in the process of being inspected for fixed-cost estimates.

Damaged sites belonging to commonwealth agencies number 30,419, while municipal sites total 16,523, said Bosko, who added that 3,085 damaged sites belong to private nonprofit entities.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued last month states that the Oct. 11 deadline for finalizing fixed-cost estimates in Puerto Rico was set as part of FEMA’s alternative procedure for large-project funding under its Public Assistance program for permanent works.

The report says the island is the first U.S. jurisdiction to use the alternative procedures process for all large permanent work projects resulting from a single catastrophic event.

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