The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program has obligated $3,231,954 to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, according to the Office of Disaster Recovery. The funds will provide for the demolition and replacement of the BMV’s main office on St. Thomas.
Located in Sub Base, the one-story building suffered extensive damage when winds, heavy wind-driven rain, overland flooding and tidal surge associated with the 2017 hurricanes swept the area.
“The monies will allow us to build a longstanding user-friendly facility, one that we have been waiting for, for a very long time,” said BMV Director Barbara Jackson-McIntosh. “The community will benefit from adequate parking and a building that is handicap accessible.”
McIntosh said, “We’ve been working in less than desirable conditions for a very long time, so along with the community, the staff will experience a modern, up-to-date facility with the latest technology.”
The losses to the St. Thomas location came to over $5 million, and between FEMA direct funds and proceeds from insurance, the BMV now has sufficient resources to take the next steps to begin the design of the new facility.
Despite its current state, the building is still used to conduct drivers’ written tests, renewals and vehicle licensing and inspections. It will be rebuilt to accommodate staff, a waiting and test room, cashiers and vehicle inspection bays.
“For far too long, residents and staff that utilize the St. Thomas office have had to endure sub-par conditions and reduced services,” said Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien. “Through the support of our federal and local stakeholders, the BMV will finally begin to rebuild the St. Thomas location. Construction should be complete by April 2022.”
The project to replace the department’s office on St. Croix is still under review from FEMA. For this and other disaster recovery updates, visit https://www.usviodr.com/.