More than $871 million in additional emergency relief funds is now available to pay for repairs to roads and bridges damaged by a variety of natural emergencies, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced Monday.
"These funds help communities recover when natural disasters strike our transportation network," Peters said.
The funds will go to 23 states and certain federal facilities, such as parkways, to pay for damages caused by hurricanes, heavy rains and flooding, earthquakes, winter storms and other natural events. $675 million--more than two-thirds of the $871 million--was released yesterday to the states, with the rest awaiting formalized requests, which are expected soon.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, will reimburse states for expenses associated with 33 emergency situations. The funds will be used to reimburse states for fixing or replacing damaged highways and bridges, establishing detours, removing debris and replacing signs, lighting and guardrails.
"Transportation links are vital to local economies and for providing a sense of normalcy to people's daily lives," FHWA Administrator J. Richard Capka said.
The emergency relief funds are part of an emergency appropriations package President Bush signed into law to supplement FHWA's emergency relief program. The program is used to reimburse states for certain costs resulting from natural disasters or other emergencies.
A portion of the funding is also available to cover Gulf Coast hurricane repairs, and is in addition to the $2.75 billion provided for Gulf Coast recovery efforts in the 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
A table listing the date, location and amount of each emergency relief incident is available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/fhwa0710.htm.