WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement after additional supplemental disaster relief was introduced. Diaz-Balart has been a strong advocate for disaster relief funding in response to the 2017 Hurricane Season and the California wildfires. As Chair of the THUD appropriations Subcommittee, he has hosted several roundtables and briefings on disaster relief programs in the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, including the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.
“Immediate disaster assistance is the crucial first-step in helping communities recover after natural disasters. However, additional assistance is required to support the long-term recovery efforts of states and localities. I have seen firsthand the damage areas like Everglades City, Chokoloskee, and Immokalee have suffered as a result of Hurricane Irma, and they will need significant resources to fully recover. Funding from programs like CDBG-DR are essential to cover the unmet needs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) were not able to address. Within this account is a new mitigation set-aside that will help prepare our communities for future natural disasters, of which Florida will receive over $200 million. Resilient construction is a key step to preparing our homes for natural disasters, and this mitigation investment is important to minimizing expenses in the future. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to assist Florida and our country as our hometowns rebuild from the storms, and we must ensure we provide them with the adequate resources they deserve.”
As Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Diaz-Balart was able to secure the following for this supplemental funding:
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Provides FAA with a total of $114.6 million for facilities damaged by hurricanes in 2017, and for operational expenses.
- Federal Highway Administration-Emergency Relief Program: $1.37 billion to address infrastructure damage from the 2017 hurricane season.
- Federal Transit Administration-Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program: Provides$269 million for transit systems affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, to restore critical transit assets such as buses and shelters, ferry terminals, and rail systems stations.
- Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR): Provides $26.1 billion for CDBG-DR to meet the full commitment in this program to address unmet housing, business and infrastructure needs for communities devastated by disasters in 2017, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. $12.5 billion is allocated to address mitigation projects to help communities protect against future natural disasters, and to protect the taxpayer from recurring costs of rebuilding after storms.
Also included in the legislation are the following items that will benefit Floridians and Americans across the country and in Puerto Rico that are still recovering from the 2017 Hurricane Season and recent wildfires in California:
- $2.6 billion for agriculture assistance to support Florida’s agriculture industry, including the citrus industry that has an estimated $760 million in damages alone.
- $2.9 billion to assist schools in Florida and elsewhere that accepted students from Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
- $12.1 billion for repairs to existing Army Corps of Engineers projects that were damaged during the storm, including those projects in Everglades National Park.
- $1.66 billion to support the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program, allowing the agency to provide up to $12.2 billion in disaster loans.
- $616.4 million for repairs, clean-up, and recovery at national parks such as Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks.