The Biden administration has announced that it will double federal funding to encourage communities to better prepare for hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. Specifically, the President has authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to double to $1 billion for FY 2021 the funding available for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC program. Under the program, funds are distributed as grants to help cities and states prepare for extreme weather and other disasters.
The news was released following the announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the Atlantic can expect another above-average hurricane season this year and as the West prepares for another deep drought.
The White House also announced the launch of a new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) initiative to more closely monitor how the climate is changing, and the impact of these changes on local communities, both in the near term and into the future. The plan is for an Earth System Observatory that will instruct Earth-observing satellites to better track and understand climate change, including its effects at the local and regional level.
The BRIC program was created in 2018 and awards grants to states, local communities, and tribes to undertake pre-disaster hazard mitigation projects. ASCE was instrumental in the underlining legislation, Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 that authorized the program, was well as working with FEMA to implement it. ASCE has made resilience a priority in working with the Administration and Congress as we work to implement the solutions found in the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.