The Trump Administration announced that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) plans to award two of its largest grants ever for infrastructure projects in Puerto Rico.
Under the leadership of President Trump, FEMA will award almost $13 billion to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid system and spur recovery of the territory’s education system—the largest obligations of funding ever awarded. This funding amount includes a Federal share of $11.6 billion for the projects.
Together, these grants exceed the total Public Assistance funding in any single federally-declared disaster other than Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Federal funding of $9.6 billion will allow the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority to repair and replace thousands of miles of transmission and distribution lines, electrical substations, power generation systems, office buildings, and make other grid improvements. The $2 billion grant for the Puerto Rico Department of Education will focus on restoring school buildings and educational facilities across the island.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 included funding for FEMA to support Hurricane Maria response and recovery, as well as language helping FEMA to ensure that Puerto Rico rebuilds its critical lifelines, services, and facilities in accordance with current industry standards.
All critical infrastructure projects are funded under FEMA’s Public Assistance Alternative Procedures, pursuant to Section 428 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This innovative funding method allows Puerto Rican officials to work with FEMA to determine how to best meet their unique recovery needs. As part of the 428 procedures, the funding being announced today was reviewed and validated by an independent expert review panel and agreed to by both FEMA and Puerto Rico.
With the grant awards announced today, the Federal Government will have obligated approximately $26 billion for Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria. Today’s grant announcements represent some of the largest awards in FEMA’s history for any single disaster recovery event and demonstrate the Federal Government’s continuing commitment to help rebuild the territory and support the citizens of Puerto Rico and their recovery goals.