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Congressman Darren Soto

Representing the 9th District of Florida

Rep. Soto Introduces Bill to Strengthen Electric Infrastructure from Weather-Related Causes

September 26, 2017
Press Release
TUFGRID Act establishes grant program under Secretary of Energy

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Darren Soto introduced H.R.3829, The Uniform Federal Grants for Resilient Infrastructure and Design (TUFGRID) Act of 2017, legislation that will help make our nation’s electric infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters. The bill is designed to provide grants to states, local governments, and electric utilities for long-term investment in durable electric infrastructure.

“When families depend on power for medical and life-supporting machinery, just a day without electricity can be a detrimental, dangerous burden. Millions of Floridians dealt with days, some even weeks, without electricity in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. In Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria caused a major power blackout that has left parts of the island without electricity for possibly months. This is unacceptable,” stated Congressman Soto.

“We are seeing the effects of climate change strengthening hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. As the storms get stronger, so should our infrastructure. That’s why I’m introducing this bill, so we can strategically invest government resources in those areas historically prone to severe weather-related disasters.”

Rep. Soto introduced the legislation after catastrophic hurricanes devastated Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The damage caused to Puerto Rico’s already failing electricity system reportedly left dangerous high-voltage lines exposed and difficult to reconnect to other surrounding cities.  

Grants under H.R. 3829 will provide critical financial assistance to projects relocating electric distribution power lines and facilities from above ground to underground, as well as replacing wooden electric distribution poles with metal, composite, or concrete ones. The program will be established under the U.S. Secretary of Energy and will give priority to areas in the country historically prone to natural phenomenon, as determined by the Secretary.

For the full bill text, please click here.

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Congressman Darren Soto represents Florida’s 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes Osceola County, as well as parts of Orange and Polk counties.