President Bush has requested an additional $17.1 billion in emergency relief funding to rebuild infrastructure damaged by natural disasters in the Gulf Coast. The package would be entirely offset by reductions to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund, which has received more than $60 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations since Hurricane Katrina struck in August.
The administration’s request includes $2.3 billion for the Emergency Relief (ER) program of the Federal Highway Administration to repair roads and bridges damaged by the hurricanes. The request requires the funding to be appropriated from the General Fund of the Treasury rather than the Highway Trust Fund.
Additionally, the administration requested $1.5 billion for the civil works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be used for flood control and navigation system repairs. Funding also is requested to initiate activities to benefit the Gulf Coast ecosystem, as well as to reduce the risk of storm damage to the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. Also included in the request is $40.6 million for the Federal Aviation Administration to repair air-traffic control facilities and $60 million for the General Services Administration to repair federal buildings in the Gulf Coast damaged by hurricanes.