WASHINGTON – The Federal Transit Administration plans to allocate $223.5 million of emergency relief funds to Puerto Rico public transportation systems damaged Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.

The money for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico accounts for most of the $277.5 million of total allocations and is much higher than the $23.3 million allocated to Texas, $22.8 million for Florida, $6.7 million for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $187,000 for Georgia. Only these allocations over $25,000 were published by the FTA on Thursday night.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Bloomberg News

The funds will come from $330 million Congress appropriated for FTA’s Emergency Relief Program in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which was signed into law (Public Law 115-123) on Feb. 9, 2018.

The FTA decided to set aside $50 million of the overall $330 million appropriation for latent damages and other emergency-related expenses from the three hurricanes that may arise in the future.

“The Department is committed to helping these communities recover from the devastation wreaked by the hurricanes as well as preparing them for future emergencies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The states and territories will be able to use the grant funding for several major categories, such as emergency operations, damages to transit vehicles and infrastructure, and the cost of resiliency projects to better protect against future disasters. Costs that have been incurred during emergency operations are eligible for reimbursement.

“Public transportation played a critical role in providing emergency support and evacuations in response to these catastrophic hurricanes,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “FTA will continue to work with our local partners to ensure these funds will help make emergency response and preparedness efforts as effective as possible.”

Any transit agency impacted by these hurricanes that is an FTA direct recipient, state, or territory may apply for emergency relief funding even if it is not listed as receiving an allocation.

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