Puerto Rico towns can now request matching Hurricane Fiona funds
Manuel Laboy, the executive director of Puerto Rico’s Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), has announced the availability of fund requests for municipalities needing the disbursement of the 10 percent state match for reconstruction projects following Hurricane Fiona’s passage through Puerto Rico.
“Municipalities can now request the state share required by [Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)] for the execution of permanent works via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Guidelines with requirements for municipalities to request this disbursement from the State Matching of Disaster Recovery Projects, which has $10 million, have already been developed,” Laboy said, while noting that the funds were identified by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi during the Build Puerto Rico Reconstruction Summit.
To access the state match, sub-recipients must submit the Non-Federal Program Application Form, certifying the lack of funds to cover the required match and explaining why funds cannot be obtained from other sources. Sub-recipients should also demonstrate readiness to start construction within 30 days and provide evidence of the bid’s publication, proof of the completed award process and a signed contract between the municipality and the contractor.
“Committed to expediting this process, we have started receiving requests via email, but a section in the Puerto Rico Disaster Recovery Solution (PR DRS) is currently under development so that municipalities can complete the process through that platform in the near future,” Laboy added.
FEMA has obligated approximately $123 million for permanent works due to damages from Hurricane Fiona, with $121 million allocated for road and bridge reconstruction.
Laboy noted: “The vast majority of these FEMA-obligated projects are classified as small because their cost is less than $1 million, and therefore, the disbursement only takes a few days, provided that the sub-recipients submit all the documentation required by FEMA. Once the disbursement is made, the municipality can request the 10 percent match available through the State Matching of Disaster Recovery Projects.”
For permanent works exceeding $1 million, municipalities also have the option to request funds from the Working Capital Advance pilot program, which provides up to 50 percent of the FEMA obligation in two phases. With regard to the State Matching of Disaster Recovery Projects request, disbursements will be made based on the work’s progress, as long as the municipality requests access to the fund.