Osceola County will receive a grant of $1,389,840 from FEMA to upgrade traffic signals at 14 locations and provide protection from winds up to 150 mph during future storms.
Funding from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) was approved in response to a proposal by the county after Hurricane Dorian in 2019. The grant will help pay for replacing the span wire and pole structures, upgrading the existing mast arm structures to current code wind speed, and installing the underground infrastructure that will support the traffic signal system with its new mast arms.
The HMGP is an important source of federal disaster assistance. Program funding may become available after the president declares a major disaster, with the goal of strengthening communities by improving buildings and critical infrastructure. A 2018 report by the National Institute of Building Sciences found that one dollar spent on hazard mitigation saves more than six dollars of recovery and rebuilding costs.
Generally, the HMGP may provide a state, tribe or territory with additional grants up to 15 percent of the total disaster grants awarded by FEMA for a federally declared disaster. States such as Florida that meet advanced mitigation planning criteria may qualify for a higher percentage.
Florida has a FEMA-approved Enhanced Mitigation Plan, making the state eligible for HMGP funding not to exceed 20 percent of the estimated total amount of grant money spent by FEMA in the Hurricane Dorian disaster. From this amount, the HMGP reimburses the state up to 75 percent of eligible costs for hazard mitigation projects. The remaining amount comes from other sources such as state and local assets and a combination of cash and in-kind sources.