Speaking in Ponce, Puerto Rico, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Fiona swept through the island, President Biden announced a $60 million funding package to prepare it for future extreme storms.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We have to do more. We have to ensure that when the next hurricane strikes, Puerto Rico is ready. Today, I'm announcing more than $60 million in funding to help coastal areas in Puerto Rico become better prepared for the storm.
For example, we can create a flood warning system to help shore up levees and flood walls. In addition, there's nearly $700 million infrastructure investments in Puerto Rico that have already been announced since I signed the bipartisan infrastructure law last November. For example, we've awarded $90 million to upgrade PR2 Highway, and we've announced $663 million to begin construction on the canal to restore Canal-- help me on the pronunciation.
- Martin Pena.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Martin Pena, that entire ecosystem. And we're going to clean up polluted waters and restore mitigation habitat, mangrove habitats, and bring back marine life. And you're going to see investments like these increasing significantly in the months ahead.
We're investing in Puerto Rico's roads, bridges, public transit, ports, airports, water safety, and high speed internet. We know that the climate crisis and more extreme weather are going to continue to hit this island and hit the United States overall. And as we rebuild, we have to ensure that we build it to last.
We're particularly focused on the power grid. This year to date, Puerto Rico has received $4 million to help make the power grid more resilient. That number is going to go up as we convey to the governor I'm ready to deploy and expedite more resources from the Department of Energy and other federal agencies, not just-- I don't usually talk this fast, but it looks like it's moving quickly.
To help transform the entire system so the Puerto Rican people can get clean, reliable, affordable power that they need, and the power stays in the homes and hospitals when storms like Fiona strike. That includes mini grids, which we can begin to deploy soon so we are less dependent on transmission lines across long distances, and more redundancy when the storms hit. The goal is lower energy bills and more reliable power for Puerto Rican households.
Additionally, I've asked the Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, who's a first-rate person, to lead a supercharged effort across the entire federal government. She's going to put in place the Puerto Rican Grid Recovery Modernization Team to bring to bear all the federal resources and technical assistance and additional support for Puerto Rico. And we'll help as you work to repair your grid quickly and drive decisive progress on the game plan for Puerto Rico's clean energy transformation.