Puerto Rico (The United States of America)

FEMA Surpasses the Approval of 9,000 Hurricane María Recovery Projects

Release Date: January 20, 2022

Release Number: NR 520

Nearly 80 percent of the projects are for permanent work

Guaynabo, Puerto Rico -- The recent number of projects that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated to the Government of Puerto Rico total more than 9,100. This represents over $25.9 billion in federal funds for Puerto Rico's recovery. Hundreds of projects have already been completed while others are in the bidding and procurement stages.

"These awards represent over $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." Baquero Tirado also explained that there are some 1,900 projects that are in various 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. In addition, according to the mayor of this municipality, there are over six sectors under construction. 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.

"We are pleased because we have elderly people with health conditions and this makes it easier to enter and exit," said Juan José Guzmán, resident of the Mulita neighborhood.

On the other hand, 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 over $35,000.

"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. Afterwards, he added that this completed repair and others will benefit over 3,000 families and different communities.

Likewise, among the 9,000 projects obligated are funds for the University of Puerto Rico. The island's largest educational institution was allocated funds for 182 projects representing $549 million in obligations. For its part, the Puerto Rico Health Department has some 63 projects approved for a total of $104 million for permanent work.

Similarly, about $4.1 billion was obligated for over 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.

Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, Executive Director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), said, "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. Currently, 558 permanent works are underway, representing an investment of approximately $373 million. Meanwhile, over 337 projects that represent $14.7 million have been completed, and this year approximately 2,000 projects will begin their respective phases of construction.

For more information on Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane María, please visit fema.gov/es/disaster/4339 and recuperacion.pr. Follow our social media pages at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and Twitter @COR3pr