CLINTON, Miss. – The rebuilding of Mississippi public infrastructure in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac is underway, with more than $55 million in damage identified as potentially eligible for federal assistance.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are assisting local governments and certain non-profits in the 48 designated counties and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians with identifying eligible projects, and requesting funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance program. There are 12 teams helping to develop project worksheets on each project to be repaired.
“Through our Public Assistance program, we partner with the state and local governments to identify facilities with eligible damages,” said Terry Quarles, FEMA federal coordinating officer. “Our goal is to assist them in getting the funds to restore critical infrastructure within the state.”
FEMA assigns public assistance coordinators who work with applicants in evaluating damages and determining estimated costs of repair.
“The Public Assistance program is a very important part of helping our state, local governments and private nonprofits recover,” said State Coordinating Officer Bill Brown. “The faster we get them back on their feet, the faster our residents will also be able to recover from a disaster.”
Public Assistance projects are categorized as small projects, with costs less than $64,200, and large projects, with costs above that threshold. There are 479 small projects identified in Mississippi, and 79 large projects, according to federal officials.
For approved projects, FEMA will pay 75 percent of eligible costs. The state and the applicant are responsible for 25 percent.
Only damage that occurred as a result of the storm is eligible for reimbursement.
Public Assistance projects may include debris removal, emergency response, and repair or replacement of damaged culverts, roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure.
Certain private nonprofits may also receive Public Assistance funding if they provide services of a public nature, such as hospitals, utilities and schools, but they are responsible for the full 25 percent
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.