How the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supports FEMA, two years later

Nov. 16, 2023
From enhanced flood protection to dam protection measures, FEMA over the last two years has seen significant increases in funding to help reduce disaster impacts.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that, in the two years since the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the agency has taken significant steps to support resiliency nationwide.

With an influx of federal funds, FEMA has infused extra money into existing grant programs and announced initiatives to find creative ways to reduce disaster impacts and minimize future disaster costs.

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has empowered FEMA to take bold actions to enhance resiliency against growing climate threats,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “In the past two years, this infusion of money has allowed the agency to invest in creative programs to ensure communities across the country can build the resilience they need to be prepared to withstand the increasing threats of hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, extreme heat, storms, flooding and other events driven by climate change. As we continue this forward momentum, we encourage more communities to seize these opportunities and apply for this transformational funding.”

Funding for annual resilience grant programs

FEMA’s annual resilience grant programs have received historic federal funding levels.

Combined funding for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs increased from $660 million in early 2021 to nearly $2 billion in the most recent funding cycle that FEMA announced in October.

Additionally, Flood Mitigation Assistance’s Swift Current program was the first FEMA initiative funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This program gets funding to the ground faster following disasters to support recovery for homes and buildings that have been repetitively flooded and substantially damaged.

In 2022, Swift Current allocated a total of $60 million to Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — all states affected by Hurricane Ida — to equitably expedite mitigation grants to disaster survivors with repetitively flooded homes. On Nov. 14, FEMA announced another round of funding totaling $300 million for the 2023 funding cycle and expanded eligibility criteria so more places could benefit.

Other FEMA programs

In addition to the BRIC and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has provided funding for a number of other FEMA programs.

The agency will make available $1 billion over four years in State and Local Cybersecurity Grants to support strong cybersecurity practices for states, local communities, tribes and territories. In August, FEMA announced about $375 million for the next funding cycle.

$733 million over five years is available for the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams program and the National Dam Safety State Assistance Grant Program to help state, territorial and local governments take action to address high hazard potential dams that pose dangers to life and property if they fail. On Nov. 2, FEMA announced a total $211 million for the two programs comprised entirely of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds.

$500 million over five years is available for the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program . This program provides capitalization grants to states, eligible federally recognized tribes, territories and the District of Columbia to establish revolving loan funds. These low-interest loans allow jurisdictions to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and foster greater community resilience. FEMA made the first selections for this new program this summer. The agency anticipates releasing the next funding opportunity later this year.