DOT Emergency Relief Funds Released for Hurricane Damage
The nation watched as President Obama called upon federal agencies to act swiftly in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and to extend all available resources as soon as possible. And, in the last several days, President Obama approved several disaster assistance efforts. Approving disaster declarations, for example, has enabled federal assistance, such as emergency relief funds, to be available to supplement the recovery and response efforts of the state and local governments in the disaster areas.
As examination of the extent of Hurricane Sandy’s damage continues throughout the Northeast, Ray LaHood, U.S Transportation Secretary, has announced a $12 million dollar quick release emergency relief fund that will immediately get the Hurricane Sandy repairs underway in Connect and New Jersey - $10 million will go to New Jersey and $2 million to Connecticut.
The $12 million in federal-aid highway funds follow a $17 million quick release emergency relief fund for New York ($10 million,) Rhode Island ($3 million,) and North Carolina ($4 million) that was approved by the DOT earlier in the week.
Repairing critical infrastructure is a first step in any natural disaster and catastrophic even since it’s roads, bridges, and such that enable first responders and relief workers to access the areas to restore services and provide assistance to the affected residents. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration’s emergency relief program helps fund the repair and/or reconstruction of these impacted federal-aid roads and bridges following catastrophic and natural disaster events.
The funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration will be used to immediately initiate an array of road, bridge, and tunnel repairs that are immediately necessary and vital to the transportation systems in the affected areas. In Connecticut, the funds will go to federal- aid highways in need of general emergency repairs, and, in New Jersey, the funds will go to preventing further damage to already damaged sections of highway and to maintaining essential traffic flow.
Secretary LaHood said that the funds will help in President Obama’s call to get the transportation systems in the affected areas up and running as soon as possible, but that the funds only represent the start of the DOT’s commitment to the recovery. Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administrator, echoes Secretary LaHood’s sentiments, saying that the first step in the recovery process is mobility and that New Jersey and Connecticut transportation systems can “count on our full support” as they get services back on line.