U.S. Department of Transportation Providing $8 Million in ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Relief Funding to Repair Flood Damage to Highways in Puerto Rico
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the immediate availability of $8 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for use by the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA). The funds will offset costs of repair work needed as a result of flooding and landslide damage to highways and bridges in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Fiona.
“Today’s announcement will help the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, which has claimed lives and damaged infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These emergency funds are a down payment to help Puerto Rico clear debris and reopen as many roads and bridges as possible, so citizens and emergency personnel can get where they need to go safely.”
“The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority to repair the damage caused to roads and bridges by flooding in multiple locations across the island,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs started as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future flooding events.”
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Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 18, 2022, causing historic flooding as a result of heavy rainfall combined with high winds. The subsequent flooding caused large landslides and bridge collapses on main roads throughout the island, necessitating detour roads to establish access to isolated communities, along with structure repairs and scour protection. Early estimates indicate that the Federally-eligible damage will exceed $35 million.
FHWA’s Emergency Relief program provides funding to States, territories, Tribes, and Federal Land Management Agencies for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. These “quick release” Emergency Relief funds are an initial installment to help restore essential transportation. Additional funds needed to repair damages to Puerto Rico will be supported by the Emergency Relief program through nationwide funding allocations. FHWA is also providing technical assistance, conducting site assessments, and administering emergency contracts for PRHTA.
The FHWA Emergency Relief program complements the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by encouraging agencies to identify and implement measures to incorporate resilience in the design, restoration and repair of damaged infrastructure, in order to better withstand future damage from climate change and future weather events. FHWA is also updating its ER Manual to spotlight the program’s impact on system resilience and equity in infrastructure spending.
More information about FHWA’s Emergency Relief program can be found online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation