WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the redirection of $366,000 in fiscal year 2019 Capital Improvement Program funding provided last year to the CNMI to meet federal matching requirements to now be used for infrastructure projects in the territory.
“Federal Emergency Management Agency projects require a local cost share, even from small territories, which is often untenable. While [the Office of Insular Affairs’] CIP funding is flexible and can be used to meet these federal requirements, having to do so often diverts funding from important shovel-ready, infrastructure projects,” said Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech. “By waiving the local cost share requirement for FEMA assistance related to Super Typhoon Yutu, the Trump administration has opened the door for the CNMI to keep these funding resources in the territory and instead make needed infrastructure repairs to improve its resilience against future storms.”
On Jan. 31, 2020, President Donald Trump announced through FEMA that an amendment (CNMI Amendment 4 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration), with conditions, had been granted to the CNMI adjusting federal cost sharing levels to a full 100% for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program disaster assistance related to Super Typhoon Yutu, thereby removing the federal match required of the CNMI.
Accordingly, the CNMI government requested to redirect funds previously awarded in fiscal year 2019 as matching funds toward the repair and renovation of CNMI Department of Finance facilities. Renovations will incorporate features for resilience against future natural disasters. Improvements include, but are not limited to, the replacement of windows and doors, new ADA-compliant restrooms, repair and strengthening of roof surfaces, new water/sewer piping, new emergency lights, and new electrical wiring and fixtures to comply with the latest National Electrical Code. (PR)