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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Gov’t agencies, nonprofits with FEMA-obligated projects can apply for 25% capital advance

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and COR3 Executive Director Manuel Laboy Rivera

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced Tuesday that all government agencies and nonprofit organizations that have projects obligated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance program and that meet the established requirements may apply for the 25 percent advance that makes the Working Capital Advance (WCA) pilot program of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) viable.

Accompanied by COR3 Executive Director Manuel Laboy Rivera, the governor noted that “over 1,400 reconstruction projects for Hurricane Maria and earthquake damage, for which some $2.74 billion has obligated by FEMA, will be able to apply for the WCA.”

“This will represent an advance of some $685 million for government agencies and nonprofit entities to pave the way to reconstruct buildings, roads, bridges, recreational parks, water facilities, and other basic services that serve our people,” Pierluisi said.

Given the success of the WCA since it began in mid-June for municipalities only, COR3 expanded the availability of the pilot program to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA), the Department of Education and the Public Housing Administration.

“Our focus on advancing the rebuilding and renewal of our infrastructure remains key to achieving the modern, resilient foundation on which we build future economic development for Puerto Rico,” the governor said. “This disbursement will have a multiplier effect on our goal of expediting projects, as it will help entities that do not have the capital to invest in design or engineering work to get their projects moving.”

In four months, COR3 has advanced, through the WCA, over $402 million to put hundreds of projects in municipalities and at PREPA, PRASA, and PHA on track. As an example, it was identified that the Department of Transportation and Public Works has FEMA obligations amounting to $205.6 million. The total amount of advances under the WCA that could be requested is some $51.4 million.

“I call on organizations to identify priority projects that have not started due to lack of money and apply for the WCA to continue advancing the work,” Laboy Rivera said. “Capital is a determining factor for the execution of permanent projects. Through this pilot program, they will receive this advance, allowing the execution of thousands of reconstruction works.”

To obtain the WCA, the recipient must complete an application through the Puerto Rico Disaster Recovery Solution platform. Among the requirements is that the agency or nonprofit organization must have an adequate procurement policy in compliance with state and federal requirements. To ensure this, COR3 will continue to conduct procurement workshops for any organization or agency applying for the WCA that does not have this requirement. Within 7-10 days, COR3 will review the application and disburse.

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