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Legislature Corner: Senator Urgently Calls for Hearing on Federal Approval of Cost Share

Senator Franklin Johnson (Legislative photo)

Senator Franklin Johnson writes to the chairman of the Committee on Disaster Recovery, Infrastructure and Planning to underscore the critical need for immediate action following the Biden-Harris Administration’s recent approval to increase the federal cost share for Hurricane Irma and Maria recovery projects in the USVI.

This decision marks a significant turning point in our ongoing recovery efforts and presents a rare opportunity to accelerate our work toward rebuilding and strengthening our infrastructure against future disasters.

The Administration’s move to enhance the federal cost share is a testament to their commitment to the recovery and resilience of the USVI. It is imperative that we, as stewards of the Virgin Islands’ future, match this commitment by mobilizing all available resources to ensure that the increased federal support translates into tangible improvements for our communities.

To this end, under your esteemed leadership, Sen. Johnson is calling for the Committee on Disaster Recovery, Infrastructure and Planning to convene a hearing at the earliest possible date.

This hearing should be aimed at receiving comprehensive testimony from the financial team and the Office of Disaster Recovery. The focus must be on outlining a clear and actionable plan to effectively utilize the increased federal cost share.

The purpose of this hearing will be multifold:

  1. To inform the public of the specifics of the Biden-Harris Administration’s approval and what it means for our recovery efforts.
  2. To identify all projects that qualify for the 2% in matching funds for 428 fixed cap projects.
  3. To scrutinize the proposed plans of action from the financial team and the Office of Disaster Recovery, ensuring that they are robust, efficient, and aligned with the urgent needs of our communities.
  4. To provide a detailed timeline for 428 projects that outlines the plan for the GVI to meet the September deadlines as mandated by the Federal Government.
  5. To foster transparency and accountability in allocating and using the increased federal funds.
  6. To galvanize collective action among local government agencies, federal partners and the community, ensuring that we all work together towards a faster and more resilient recovery.

Sen. Johnson urges Sen. Potter to prioritize scheduling of a hearing, recognizing the time-sensitive nature of this funding and the immense benefit it represents for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Johnson states that, together, we are responsible for acting swiftly and decisively to make the most of this opportunity.

Johnson looks forward to a response and stands ready to assist in any way necessary to facilitate this critical discussion. Our people have shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity, and with this increased federal support, we have the chance to rebuild stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Senator Franklin Johnson

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