Unable to Access Recovery Loans, Puerto Rico Waits for Promised Federal Aid

Washington DC - According to FEMA, out of 9000 recovery projects requested for Puerto Rico since Hurricanes Maria and Irma struck in 2017, less than 190 projects received funding. Over the same period 3700 projects were funded in Texas and more than 3700 in Florida reports the New York Times.

"Because of Puerto Rico's debt crisis, the island can't access loans to speed up recovery efforts. Puerto Rico is completely reliant on FEMA aid," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who has focused on the islands debt and disaster issues since 2014. "Puerto Rico continues to suffer because it can't borrow money and FEMA is too slow to deliver already approved monies for Puerto Rico."

In November, the American Society of Civil Engineers released a report noting that Puerto Rico's dams, bridges and other infrastructure need $13 to $23 billion in repairs over the next 10 years. The group highlighted that due to "deferred maintenance and hurricane-related recovery projects, the investment gap is even larger."

"Before the hurricanes hit two years ago, Puerto Rico's roads, bridges and electrical grid were already in disrepair because of the island's debt crisis," stated LeCompte. "Of about $50 billion federally approved for recovery, less than $20 billion reached the US Territory and up to another $70 billion still needs to be approved by Congress."

Read the report from the American Society of Civil Engineers here