• The San Juan Daily Star

PR has committed FEMA funds for 2,000 projects in 2022

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico has committed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds for some 2,000 projects in 2022, according to a press release about the commonwealth’s use of federal allocations.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia updated the information after a meeting with agency heads earlier this week.

“It is important to keep citizens informed on the efforts by all agencies in hastening work on federal processes,” the governor said in a statement.

Already in the design stage are 1,649 projects worth a combined $3 billion, while 84 projects are in the bidding and permitting processes, Pierluisi said in the statement issued Monday.

The Puerto Rico Department of Housing has repaired or rebuilt 2,751 homes out of a target of 3,000.

Some $982 million in FEMA Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief funds under the city revitalization program have already been obligated, the press release indicated.

As for commonwealth agencies, the Highways and Transportation Authority has obligated all its federal funds. At the same time, some $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds are being used for the maintenance and paving of roads.

The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority has 160 active projects that represent $1.8 billion, the statement indicated.

Meanwhile, federal funds for some 162 projects from the Department of Transportation and Public Works have already been obligated. Of those, 117 are in the design stage and should soon enter the bidding process, the press release said.

In the area of education, the governor said some $330 million has been allocated to the extended hour program to support the education of students and alleviate the burden for the working parents for some 40,000 students.

Separately, the federal government announced Tuesday that some $42.5 billion in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds will be allocated to upgrade broadband coverage. The money will be sent to states to disburse – initially a minimum of $100 million per state (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, plus $100 million split among the four other populated U.S. territories) – a sum of $5.3 billion.

After the broadband mapping process is completed, the government will allocate the remaining $37.2 billion to the state entities based on a formula that considers the percentage of the nation’s unserved rural locations. The state entities will decide how to distribute the funds via a grant process guided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). It is similar to broadband funding provided under the American Recovery Act under the Obama administration, which NTIA administered, but with the difference of letting states control who wins the grants with NTIA providing oversight.

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