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Deputy Secretary Graves Remembers the Anniversary of Hurricane Maria and Highlights the Biden-Harris Administration's Ongoing Support for Puerto Rico's Reconstruction

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This month marks the somber 6th anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Puerto Rico, an unfathomable tragedy that shook the core of the island and left an indelible mark on its people.

The scale of the disaster was overwhelming, and its impact will be felt for generations. Lives were lost, houses were flattened, infrastructure crippled, and essential services rendered inaccessible. Through my role as the Puerto Rico Economic Recovery Coordinator, I work every day to honor the strength and hope of the Puerto Rican people to imagine a better future. As we pass this solemn milestone, our efforts to help Puerto Rico rebuild and recover continues.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, hope has met action. To support the island’s reconstruction and rehabilitation, we have released federal funds, expedited aid, and launched community-driven initiatives dedicated to rebuilding a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico. Collectively, these actions mean that:

  • With an investment of over $9 billion to rebuild the electric grid, which is matched by a strong collaboration with the private sector, the island is forging a vision to create a sustainable, clean; and resilient energy system by 2050.
  • Through a $109 million investment by the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative program to the Puerto Rico Economic Development bank, and the persistent support of the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), local businesses are expanding.
  • Remote learning, telemedicine and advanced manufacturing will be more readily available after the implementation of the high-speed Internet connectivity vision outlined by Puerto Rico’s Smart Island program, which is fueled by a nearly $900 million investment from Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Puerto Rican governments.
  • Recognizing the people of Puerto Rico are at the center of this recovery effort, the Administration will continue to support human capital investments and workforce development efforts, such as the decentralization of the PR Department of Education, the 21st century Techforce initiative, and funding awarded through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Good Jobs Challenge.

In addition to bolstering recovery efforts, the Administration also enabled the island to participate in historic programs, such as those made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

At its core, a team of public-servants across 17 departments and agencies—many of them Puerto Ricans—collaborate with the Congress, the business community and non-government organizations to fulfill the ambitious economic agenda jointly developed with the Government of Puerto Rico during the 2022 Economic Dialogue.

We must never forget the human face of this tragedy. And we must honor their lives with action. We see that commitment every day in the resilience of the Puerto Rican people. Together, our work to help Puerto Rico, rebuild, recover and renew goes on.