FEMA Announces How it Plans to Spend $8.8 billion.

FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh recently released funding projections for response and recovery costs associated with the World Trade Center attacks. The agency will receive $8.8 billion of the $20 billion allotted by President George W. Bush and Congress.

The money was allotted over a year ago, soon after the Sept. 11 attacks. The projected commitments include funds obligated for specific projects as well as amounts designated for pending projects. FEMA worked with the city and state of New York to finalize eligible projects and costs for federal reimbursement.

"The projects and programs covered in these projected commitments may take several years to run the course, so it is important to set aside the appropriate funds now," said Allbaugh, who is leaving the agency.

Based on the projected commitments, FEMA estimates that over $4.2 billion will go towards public assistance projects that include debris removal, emergency protective measures and the repair or restoration of damaged public facilities. An additional $2.75 billion has been approved to revamp Lower Manhattan's transportation infrastructure damaged during the World Trade Center attack. FEMA estimates that approximately $500 million is being spent to provide assistance to individuals and families affected by the attack through such programs as FEMA's Mortgage and Rental Assistance, Individual and Family Grants and Crisis Counseling.

FEMA also projects approximately $425 million will be spent on mitigation projects, to be selected by the state and city of New York, to reduce damage from potential future terrorist attacks. Additional costs include $190 million in mission assignments made to other federal agencies as part of the federal response plan, $125 million in interagency agreements to support response and recovery efforts and $87 million for emergency response support provided by New Jersey.

Of the $8.8 billion, approximately $367 million remains unallocated, pending expected project applications from New York. The city and state are working to prioritize pending applications for this funding. Projects under consideration include additional mitigation funding, funding for unmet needs to address budget shortfalls for the city and state, additional funding for expanded baseline health screening for workers at Ground Zero, or increased pension costs incurred by the New York City Police Department and the Fire Department of New York.

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