Florida is receiving $480 million to pay the state’s cost for replacing traffic signals, clearing highway debris and repairing roads in 21 counties devastated by Hurricanes Rita and Wilma, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta recently announced.
High winds from last year’s hurricanes swept northeast across Florida, causing widespread damage to more than two thousand traffic signals in Broward and Palm Beach Counties alone. The federal transportation funds will reimburse the state for repairing or replacing the damaged traffic signals and highway signs, restoring washed out highways, and clearing downed trees, sand and other debris from roads immediately after the storms.
“Communities throughout Florida were able to move quickly, making repairs to traffic signals and roads because they knew they could count on us for support, for guidance and for reimbursement,” said Mineta. According to Mineta, the funding is part of an emergency highway aid package for Gulf Coast states requested by President Bush and approved by Congress the end of last year.
The Transportation Department earlier this year provided $42.8 million to Florida for Hurricane Katrina highway damages, raising the total the state has received to more than $523 million to repair or rebuild federally supported highways and bridges.