ROADS/BRIDGES: U.S. DOT OKs $232 million for immediate road and bridge storm repair

Funding is part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Fund program

Funding News February 20, 2015
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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) this week announced that it is preparing to spend $232 million to address roads and bridges that have sustained significant, emergent damage as a result of recent storms. As part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Fund program, the funds will be disseminated across 26 states and Puerto Rico.
 
In a statement, DOT secretary Anthony Foxx said, “We are committed to getting transportation facilities restored as quickly as possible following natural disasters and other emergencies. These funds will certainly repair roads and bridges, but most importantly, they are helping people who rely on them every day to arrive at their jobs and pick up their children at school.”
 
This fiscal booster shot comes amidst Foxx’s increasing efforts to goad Congress toward approving President Obama’s $478 billion transportation projects legislation—known colloquially as the Grow America Act—a bill that would fund projects large and small over the next six years and give the national infrastructure what both the President and secretary have characterized as a much-needed means of sustainable, dependable funding.
 
According to DOT officials, the emergency repair funding announced this week is a sliver of the kind of funding needed to make widespread infrastructure impacts nationwide. “According to Beyond Traffic, a report issued by the DOT in February, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that approximately $77 billion in annual investment is needed to meet the needs of our federal-aid highway system,” the agency said in a statement. “In addition, there are 60,000 miles of coastal roads in America that are exposed to flooding from heavy rain and storm surges. Low-lying road infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to storm surges and bridges—because they often cross or are near bodies of water—are vulnerable to storm surges.” 
 
Nonetheless, approval of this emergency funding is seen as a step in the right direction, albeit a stutter-step. A full list of the project marked for funding can be found on the DOT’s website.

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