FEMA has OK’d 9K+ Hurricane María recovery projects in Puerto Rico
The recent number of projects that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated to the government of Puerto Rico has exceeded 9,100, representing more than $25.9 billion in federal funds for the island’s recovery after Hurricane María, the agency stated.
Hundreds of projects have already been completed while others are in the bidding and procurement stages.
“These awards represent more than $19.4 billion for permanent work in various categories,” said FEMA’s Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator in Puerto Rico, José G. Baquero Tirado. According to FEMA’s Director on the island, the obligations will have an impact on the local economy.
“Every day we obligate projects with the goal of allocating funds that will benefit the residents of Puerto Rico and their communities,” he said, adding that there are some 1,900 projects that are in several stages of approval by the agency.
For road infrastructure, close to $1.3 billion has been approved for more than 2,600 projects related to roads and bridges. Some roads such as PR-184 in the Rivera sector, Camino los Cotto and Cunetón Rancho Vega in Cayey, as well as PR-825 in Cuesta Varo of the Achiote neighborhood in Naranjito will be repaired with about $2 million obligated to each of these municipalities for these purposes.
Among the completed works is the repaving of a rural road in the Mulita neighborhood of the Tita Montañez Sector in Aguas Buenas. There are more than six sectors under construction, town officials said.
Asphalting works have already been completed in the Tajea I and Tajea II sectors. Soon the repairs for the bridge at the Los Coreanos sector and the Los Layos sector will be contracted as well as the repaving of the Casianos sector in the Juan Asencio neighborhood.
Meanwhile, close to $897 million was approved to cover the costs of some 2,000 projects to repair parks and recreational facilities. In the municipality of Loíza, for example, work was completed on the Santillana del Mar recreational park with an obligation of more than $35,000, the agency confirmed.
“The park is very important for us because it is the meeting point for neighbors and [where] people [can] come and spend time with their families,” said Luis Daniel Pizarro, director of federal programs for the Municipality of Loíza. This completed repair and others will benefit over 3,000 families and different communities, he said.
Likewise, among the 9,000 projects obligated are funds for the University of Puerto Rico, which has been allocated funds for 182 projects representing $549 million in obligations. The Puerto Rico Health Department has some 63 projects approved for a total of $104 million for permanent work.
Another $4.1 billion was obligated for more than 2,300 projects to repair public buildings, such as the Lares Cultural Center, which is part of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, and six community centers in different neighborhoods in Humacao. Both projects received funding allocations within the first days of the new year.
“Puerto Rico’s critical infrastructure is in a historic moment of transformation. The restoration of the electrical and aqueduct systems, as well as the reconstruction of roads, bridges, buildings, parks, schools, and ports, among others, will mark the beginning of the island’s socioeconomic development,” said Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) Executive Director Manuel Laboy.
“Currently, 558 permanent works are underway, representing an investment of approximately $373 million. Meanwhile, more than 337 projects that represent $14.7 million have been completed, and this year approximately 2,000 projects will begin their respective phases of construction,” he said.