Trump to allow feds to pick up 90 percent of Puerto Rico rebuilding cost

Trump to allow feds to pick up 90 percent of Puerto Rico rebuilding cost
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President Trump agreed on Thursday to expand the federal government's use of disaster aid to rebuild infrastructure in Puerto Rico, according to a Reuters report.

A senior White House official told the news service that Trump has agreed to a plan with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló that will allow the federal government to pick up 90 percent of the rebuilding costs and allow for the money to be released faster.

Typically, the federal government picks up 75 percent of the costs in disaster relief situations. Under Trump's plan, third-party advisers will oversee the expected costs and implementation of federal funds, a move meant to reduce waste of taxpayer dollars.


“We’re doing it in a way that grants flexibility, but also imposes a mutually agreed upon set of controls,” the official told Reuters.

Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, is currently $72 billion in debt. The island's aging power grid was completely destroyed by Hurricane Maria, which struck in September and left the island's 3.4 million U.S. citizens without drinking water or electricity.

Six weeks after the storm's landfall, just 30 percent of the island has seen power restored. Trump has been involved in a public feud with the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico's largest city, over the pace of recovery results.

“It is not that you do not get it; you are incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR,” Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz tweeted at Trump in October. “Shame on you!”

Trump, meanwhile gave his administration a "10" out of 10 possible points for relief efforts on the island when asked by reporters last month.

“I would give myself a 10,” Trump said. “We have provided so much, so fast,” he said, adding the disaster in Puerto Rico was "worse than Katrina."