FHWA distributes $411 million in emergency relief
for years of disaster repairs

From AASHTO Journal Dec. 11, 2015:

The Federal Highway Administration is spreading $411 million around the nation in accumulated emergency relief funds to help pay for unreimbursed storm damage costs to roads and bridges from years of natural disasters.

The FHWA said the money is going to 33 states, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and several federal land management agencies to repair transportation routes hit by storms, floods and other unexpected events.

In separate announcements, the agency said it was awarding $410 million to cover disaster costs going back as far as 2007 and extending to this past October, and another $1 million to help the Washington State Department of Transportation repair roads and bridges damaged by severe flooding last month.

“We stand by communities that have been impacted by natural disaster and other emergencies,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These funds will allow states to complete projects that are ready to go, and that will allow people to travel and resume their daily lives as soon as possible.”

The FHWA’s emergency aid reimburses state departments of transportation and other qualifying agencies for eligible expenses associated with damage from natural disasters or other emergency situations. The money helps pay for reconstruction or replacement of highways and bridges, along with the arrangement of detours and replacement of guardrails or other damaged safety devices.

“Emergency relief funding is an integral part of the federal-aid program,” said FHWA Administrator Greg Nadeau. “Part of our mission is to help states get back on track by restoring broken transportation links when disaster strikes.”

Among these awards, Colorado topped the list at $115.5 million for effects of a major flood event that caused widespread damage in September 2013, most of it near Denver and Boulder.

New Jersey and New York together received more than $92 million for Hurricane Sandy repairs, which reflects the length and cost of repairs made since the event in 2012. 

Repayment for more recent events includes more than $14 million for northern California storms last February, and more than $13 million for storms and landslides in Ohio last March. 

South Carolina will receive nearly $10 million for its October floods, the FHWA said, “and additional emergency relief funds once the state completes its ongoing damage assessments.”

Published 12-18-15