The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Thursday announced the immediate availability of $40 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds to help restore essential service on roads and bridges damaged by Hurricane Maria throughout Puerto Rico.
The funds supplement the $2.5 million in ER funds awarded to the territory for damages related to Hurricane Irma. The funds were approved shortly after being requested.
“It is critical to get the island’s infrastructure in working condition as soon as possible so relief supplies and other assistance can be delivered to the people of Puerto Rico,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, in a release.
Hurricane Maria caused widespread damage to roads and bridges across the island. In addition to restoring essential traffic, emergency work will include repairs to bridges, guardrails, traffic signal systems, and address a variety of damages related to mudslides and flooding.
The FHWA’s ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. The $40 million “quick release” payment is an initial installment of funds used to restore essential traffic and limit further highway damage, which can help long-term repair work begin more quickly.