U.S. Department of Transportation Providing National Park Service $11.7 Million in ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Relief Funding to Repair Flood Damage in Death Valley National Park
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced Monday August 15, 2022, the immediate availability of $11.7 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for use by the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service to offset costs of repair work needed as a result of flood damage in Death Valley National Park earlier this month.
“The emergency funding we’re sending will help quickly reopen roads and remove storm debris in Death Valley and improve access in and around the park for workers, visitors and the surrounding community,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This level of disaster, formerly considered an every-thousand-year phenomenon, gives us renewed urgency in the steps we’re taking to fight the climate crisis and to make our infrastructure more resilient.”
“The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the National Park Service to repair the damage caused by the flooding at Death Valley National Park,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future floods.”
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Death Valley National Park has approximately 1,000 total miles of roads, including 200 miles of paved roadways. The storm that took place in the park on August 5 set a new rainfall daily record, with totals equivalent to almost an entire year’s worth of precipitation in a few hours causing extensive serious damage to roads, buildings and utilities. National Weather Service meteorologists have described the weather event as a “1000-year event” meaning it was a 0.1% chance of happening within any given year. All routes within the park had to be closed due to extreme debris on the roads and sections of major roadways were completely wiped out.
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 of funds toward restoring this essential transportation link. Additional funds needed to repair damages to Death Valley National Park 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 the National Park Service.
The FHWA Emergency Relief program complements Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs and provisions by encouraging agencies to identify and implement measures to incorporate resilience in the design, restoration and repair of damaged infrastructure, 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 improvements to system resilience and the equity of 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