Puerto Rico getting funds for power grid 3 years after Maria

3:11 pm
Puerto Rico Is Set To Receive $13 Billion in FEMA Funds
By Jhoni Jackson

President Donald Trump announced the release Friday of $13 billion in assistance to fix years-old hurricane damage in Puerto Rico and pledged to restore its economy, setting aside his past bitter treatment of the island and its leaders as he courts Puerto Rican voters in the us, particularly in the crucial swing state of Florida.

"Today I announced two of the largest grants in Puerto Rico's history to rehabilitate its electrical grid and education systems", he wrote.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will award $9.6 billion to the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority to restore the power grid.

In a visit to the Central Florida bastion of the Puerto Rican community this week, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden proposed a debt-relief program for the island, which is also trying to emerge from a historic bankruptcy and a deep economic downturn.

The latest funds are in addition to the $49.9 billion in aid that Congress has approved since Hurricane Maria raked the US commonwealth. Some came after Maria, when an estimated 3,000 died and some parts of the island were left powerless for the better part of year. "The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!" he wrote back on October 23, 2018, in a Twitter post.

Residents of Puerto Rico, a USA territory of more than 3 million people, can not vote in the general election.

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After Hurricane Maria, President Donald Trump said repeatedly that he wanted to help Puerto Rico and granted federal funding to help the island.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., pointed out in a statement that the Trump administration waited to allocate necessary funds until just before the election.

"Our schools and our electrical system require priority attention, particularly after the natural events that Puerto Rico has experienced during the past three years", Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez said adding that the funds will go toward services that are essential for the public. The region has one of the largest concentrations of people from the island on the USA mainland, including many who fled the devastation of Hurricane Maria. They all met each other for first time in NY after leaving Puerto Rico, and now they are working together on the new venture.

But Nydia Velazquez, a congresswoman from NY born in Puerto Rico, accused the Trump administration of having "delayed, dragged its feet and resisted allocating these badly needed funds".

The president said that he had spoken to several companies who asked for a "little bit of help" but was willing to return manufacturing to the island. Congress has approved about $43 billion.

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