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FHWA announces $232.5m for emergency repairs

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will issue $232.5m in emergency relief to 26 states and Puerto Rico to repair flood damage.

In order to provide emergency relief (ER) to areas with roads and bridges damaged by storms, floods and other unexpected events, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) last week announced a new line of $232.5 million in funding for division among 26 states and Puerto Rico.
Disasters and events to be funded through the newly issued ER funds include sinkholes, floods, winter storm damage, truck crash and fire damage, bridge collapse/failure, rock slides and hurricanes.

“We want states to know that they can go ahead and expedite repairs where they are needed most following a disaster and that they will be repaid,” said acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “It is our top priority to help states and their communities that have been hurt by storms like these – so their residents can get back to travelling freely and safely again.”

According to the Beyond Traffic Report, a report from the US Department of Transportation which sets US transportation goals for 2045, the US has 60,000 miles of highway in low-lying coastal areas that are highly exposed to flooding and storm surges. The report says that the US needs $77 billion in annual investment to fully meet the current needs of the federal-aid highway system.

Colorado is to receive the lion's share of the funding, with its allotment of $55 million in reimbursement via the ER programme in order to repair damages from a single flood event on September 11, 2013, that caused widespread damage throughout the state and especially surrounding the Boulder area, according to a February 18 FHWA release. That state will also receive another $576,159 for repair to flood damage to US 24 caused on August 9, 2013.

Arizona is set to receive a total of $48.5 million for repair to damages from two separate incidents – the February 20, 2013, slope failure of US 89, and rainfall and flooding damage caused in September 2014.

Third on the list is Ohio, which will receive $1.5 million for damage caused by heavy rainfall in mid-March 2011, and another $34.375 million for an ER event in Jefferson County in January 2012.

“We are committed to getting transportation facilities restored as quickly as possible following natural disasters and other emergencies,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx when he made the funding announcement. “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.”