February 10, 2024
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – An elated Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien thanked President Joseph Biden Friday for reducing the Territory’s cost share for recovery projects resulting from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The cost share for FEMA disaster recovery grants stood at a looming 10% which could have cost the Territory anywhere from $1.5-$2 billion based on current projections of a $15 to $20 billion recovery. The long-awaited adjustment will now allow eligible disaster costs to be funded at a 95% federal cost share or 5% cost for the Territory for permanent work projects and a 98% federal, 2% local cost share for projects funded under Section 428 which includes the bulk of the larger more complex projects to rebuild schools, hospitals and other critical facilities.
“The opportunity today before us is just miraculous,” Governor Bryan said Friday during a live briefing from Government House on St. Thomas. “This precedent-setting opportunity, raising the level of federal disaster recovery assistance, represents approximately $1.1 billion in savings to the USVI that can be used to complete the remaining projects. This approval alleviates concerns on how we would secure over a billion dollars to complete more than 1500 projects. This is a critical piece in the implementation of Rebuild USVI, the massive reconstruction effort that will now drive the Territory’s disaster recovery efforts.”
Governor Bryan and Director Williams-Octalien thanked Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, and the VI Office of Disaster Recovery team for their dedication and hard work to secure federal funding for the Territory’s reconstruction efforts.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity; reducing the cost share and providing the Territory an additional eleven years to complete this herculean task could not come at a better time,” Williams-Octalien said. “This is a huge win for the Territory and a giant leap forward to realizing the vision of building a more resilient Virgin Islands for generations to come. We are looking forward to working with FEMA on obtaining the obligations for the last set of approved projects and developing a plan to adjust the cost share for all previously funded and future projects.”
For information on Rebuild USVI and the Territory’s ongoing reconstruction efforts, visit the VI Office of Disaster Recovery’s website at www.usviodr.com.
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