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ICYMI: Opportunities for FEMA to Enhance Our Nation’s Resiliency through IIJA Funds

In addition to investments in transportation, energy, water, and broadband infrastructure, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included substantial funding to increase the resilience of communities to climate change and natural disasters, as well as cyber threats. With natural disasters becoming more frequent and severe, strategic investments in resilient infrastructure are crucial to save lives, reduce the costs of disaster response and recovery efforts, and help affected communities recover more quickly—all while creating jobs.

Specifically, the law provided nearly $7 billion to FEMA largely to advance these efforts, including:

  • Flood Mitigation Assistance Program: $3.5 billion over five years to reduce the risk of repetitive flood damage.
  • Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities: $1 billion over five years for competitive grant funding to states and local communities for hazard mitigation projects.
  • National Dam Safety Program: $733 million over five years to improve the safety of dams and upgrade aging dams.
  • Safeguarding Tomorrow Through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act: $500 million over five years so FEMA can provide capitalization grants to states and eligible tribal governments to create revolving loan funds that can finance state and local hazard mitigation projects.
  • State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program: $1 billion over four years to establish a new grant program for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to modernize their IT networks and infrastructure to better respond to cyber threats.

In the second event of our “Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities: Implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” series, the Bipartisan Policy Center, National Association of Counties, and National League of Cities hosted FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks to discuss the agency’s implementation efforts and plans to further guide and support investments in more resilient infrastructure.

Here are a few main themes from their conversation.

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IIJA funding is critical to helping FEMA better support mitigation efforts—not just disaster response.

FEMA’s partnerships with local governments are crucial for effectively mitigating disaster risk.

Resilience and mitigation investments should target disadvantaged communities.

Collaborating with and learning lessons from other agencies is key.

The nation needs to enhance cybersecurity to address increasing threats.

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