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Influx of federal funding for the territories for infrastructure, environmental protections

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Congress, Federal Government, Science and Environment | 0 comments

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, has expanded federal funding across all five territories. Delegates of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands in the US House of Representatives lobbied for much of the funding, which will aid in rebuilding infrastructure, addressing food and housing insecurity, and bolstering environmental protection programs.

American Samoa

Delegate Amata Coleman Radewagen (R) also announced $1.7 million in grants early in February as part of the BIL. The American Samoa government will receive $1 million for the Biodiversity Conservation Office’s project to restore wetlands, $260 thousand for the Biodiversity Conservation Office’s biosecurity plan, and $320 thousand from the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources for the coral restoration project. The grants are part of the $100 million outlined in the BIL that will be sent to American Samoa over five years to improve transportation, water, energy, and technological infrastructure.


Delegate James Moylan (R) announced $669 thousand in funding as part of the BIL. The funding will go to Guam’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which assists low-income islanders in paying utility bills, weatherizing homes, improving energy efficiency, and preventing energy emergencies.

To address food security for children during the summer, Moylan also announced a $177 benefit in food assistance, estimated to help 26,000 children on the island. The Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) benefits are higher than the $140 benefit on the mainland, designed to address the higher costs of food on Guam and CNMI. Sablan added in a press release that the benefits are expected to add $1.9 million to the economy. 

Food and Nutrition Service western regional administrator Jesus Mendoza, Jr. said, “This new program–and the boosted benefit amount for Guam and the CNMI to reflect the higher cost of food–will help approximately 37,000 children across both territories get the nutrition they need when school is out for summer so they can grow, learn, and thrive year-round.”

Northern Mariana Islands

Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D) announced the $975 thousand grant from the BIL, including funding to restore abandoned quarries with native vegetation, restore native plants across the islands, counter invasive species, establish biosecurity measures, and attend the Office of Insular Affairs’ Regional Bio-Security Conference.

Sablan also announced the increase in Summer EBT benefits, noting the benefits will aid about 11,000 children in CNMI. He added that the increase in benefits is expected to add $1.9 million to the CNMI economy.

Puerto Rico

At the end of January, Resident Commissioner Jennifer González-Colón (NPP, R) announced the release of federal funding for community aqueducts and rural communities, totaling $1.2 million. Several companies will receive funding to provide technical support and improve energy efficiency for rural businesses and agricultural producers of the Renewable Energy System for America. Various towns will also receive funds to rebuild and improve their water and energy systems

González-Colón also announced the release of the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program Grant in early February, with the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority set to receive $13.1 million for an emergency system for the Tren Urbano and almost $7000 for the maintenance of the station in Arroyo. González-Colón highlighted in a press release that “it is good to see how federal funds continue arriving directly to the local agencies and towns and that they can continue advancing reconstruction efforts.”

The US Department of the Interior also announced $3 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, directed towards developing a climate workforce and aiding native plant and ecosystem restoration projects.

US Virgin Islands

Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D) recently announced that FEMA assistance grants for hurricane recovery efforts would increase. While the federal government funded 90% of the recovery costs in the past, FEMA agreed to raise the proportion to 95%, with the federal cost share going up to 98% for major infrastructure projects.

Plaskett said in a press release, “As we know, the Virgin Islands government has been allocated billions of federal dollars for hurricane recovery projects—for our schools, hospitals, water, power, communications, and other critical infrastructure. This will allow the Virgin Islands more federal financial assistance to push through the most critical projects so that the territory is given the best opportunity to see our hurricane recovery through to completion in a timely fashion.”

As part of the BIL, the US Department of the Interior announced that the USVI will also receive $971 thousand to combat invasive species and support plant surveys across the islands.



Aamir Jamil

Aamir Jamil

Aamir Jamil is a student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. After living in Switzerland and Saudi Arabia, he became fascinated with international affairs, politics, and history. He enjoys reading, researching politics and political trends, discovering American and world history, and poring over the news in his free time. Other hobbies include playing the clarinet and writing for the university newspaper. He is a Federal Affairs Intern Editor at Pasquines.


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