Governor Bryan meets with FEMA Administrator in Washington, DC
United States Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. (D) met with US Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell while in Washington, DC on January 28, 2022, to discuss the progress of ongoing recovery projects in the territory. The meeting continues the ongoing discussion between Governor Bryan and Administrator Criswell on the progress of critical recovery projects funded by FEMA and the pace of the agency’s various approval processes.
In May 2021, Governor Bryan met with Administrator Criswell at Government House in St. Croix where they discussed the Conditional Letter of Map Revision permit for the Paul E. Joseph Stadium project, concerns regarding the territory’s hospitals, the status of school reconstruction, and upgrading the wastewater and drinking water systems in the territory. The territory received approval of the CLOMAR for the Paul E. Joseph Stadium in October 2021, allowing for the construction of the stadium to resume, and recently it received approval from FEMA for $242 million to fund the construction of the New Arthur A. Richards K-8 School.
In December, FEMA also approved the replacement of the entire sewer system on the island of St. Croix after it determined that the island’s sewer sheds are eligible for replacement following the 2017 hurricanes.
Governor Bryan thanked Administrator Criswell for the agency’s continued support but expressed concern with the pace of Fixed Cost Offers affecting the territory’s most critical projects, which include schools and hospitals.
During Friday’s meeting, the governor also reiterated his push for a waiver to the 10% cost-share required by the federal government for the funding of those projects, noting that without the waiver, the territory will have to pay hundreds of millions in local funds to receive the funding approved for its recovery projects.
“Without this waiver, the territory will have to utilize more than $500 million in HUD CDBG-DR funds that can be otherwise utilized for much-needed housing and capital improvement projects,” Governor Bryan said.
While FEMA was noncommittal on the cost-share waiver, the administrator agreed to review an appeal submitted by the governor on December 27, 2021. The administrator and her leadership team also committed to reviewing their processes in an effort to move the territory’s projects forward in a more expeditious manner.