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FEMA Offering $10B to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Electric Grid

Three years after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced plans to pour $10 billion into rebuilding the U.S. territory's electrical infrastructure.

by Bill Sanderson, New York Daily News / September 18, 2020
Streets in the Ocean Park sector of San Juan remain flooded weeks after Hurricane María devastated the entire island in 2017. Shutterstock/Alessandro Pietri

(TNS) — Federal officials will promise $10 billion to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid Friday three years after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria, two New York-area members of Congress say.

The money will be released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nydia Velázquez, both Democrats.

In a statement, Schumer said it hasn’t helped that the Trump administration “dithered and delayed and refused to deliver timely disaster aid for the people of Puerto Rico.”

“I will work with the Puerto Rican community to see that these long overdue and desperately needed funds are put to use in a wise way building the cleaner and more resilient energy grid the island deserves,” Schumer said.

He and Velázquez also question why the aid is being announced 47 days before President Trump faces re-election.

“While I certainly hope to see this money put to good use making Puerto Rico’s electrical system more resilient, these delays are unacceptable, and it is insulting to Puerto Ricans everywhere that the administration is so blatantly playing politics with this aid,” said Velázquez, whose district covers parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

FEMA officials could not be reached for comment after Schumer and Velázquez gave word of the announcement late Thursday.

Puerto Rico’s publicly-owned electric grid was long wracked by corruption and inefficiency — and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in September 2017 made matters worse.

Parts of Puerto Rico were without power for nearly a year after Maria struck.

A plan devised by Puerto Rican officials and released in August calls for building more resiliency into the island’s electric grid by putting major transmission lines underground and greatly expanding the use of renewable energy resources.

©2020 New York Daily News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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