Governor Ricardo Roselló sent a letter requesting emergency supplemental funding for Puerto Rico to the President and Congressional leadership on October 7, 2017. A main focus of the letter is to request a liquidity injection of $4.6 billion from the federal government.
In the letter, the Governor expresses his gratitude to the President and Congressional leadership for the federal government’s role in aiding Puerto Rico. He also reminds them of the humanitarian crisis that Puerto Rico is facing.
In addition to the humanitarian crisis, the letter notes that Puerto Rico is “on the brink of a massive liquidity crisis that will intensify in the immediate future.” As a result, many Puerto Ricans will out-migrate to the mainland and establish themselves in states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and other states that have a big Puerto Rican population.
For Puerto Rico to be able to recover from this disaster, Roselló provides the framework of a number of extraordinary measures needed to stop the humanitarian crisis from getting worse and stop the out-migration of Puerto Rico’s residents to the mainland. The injection of $4.6 billion would come through special allocations made through the following special programs:
- Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grants – $3.2 billion
- Department of Homeland Security Community Disaster Loan Program – $500 million
- Health and Human Services Social Services Block Grant – $500 million
- Department of Transportation Emergency Relief Program – $149 million
- Small Business Association Disaster Loan Program – $90 million
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Commodity Assistance Program – $83 million
- U.S. Department of Education Educational Agencies/Hurricane Education Recovery – $78 million
To read a more descriptive allocation and reasoning of choosing these programs, a detailed report can be viewed here.
“This supplemental should serve as a down payment on hurricane recovery efforts while we await full assessment of needs,” the governor wrote, noting that independent damages assessments are estimated at about $95 billion, 150% of Puerto Rico’s GNP. The PROMESA oversight board also cited an estimate that Maria caused $95 billion in damage on the island in a letter sent to Congress on October 3, 2017.
In closing, Governor Roselló states: “Puerto Rico is committed to respond to this emergency, stabilize our economy, and recover and rebuild our island. With your leadership and support, I am confident that in time the people of Puerto Rico will not only recover, but will return stronger than ever.”