When disaster strikes a region, one of the most important steps we can take is to make the roads safe again--so people can go about the business of recovering and get back to their daily routines.
That's why, on Friday, the Federal Highway Administration released $3 million in emergency relief funds to the state of Rhode Island. The state will use those funds to make urgent road repairs and inspections following record rains and flooding.
This flooding has hit Rhode Island hard, so I'm pleased that we can make these quick release funds available. Specifically, the funds DOT released on Friday will help repair six key bridges that have been closed since the flooding began at the end of March. It's important to get those bridges open as soon as safely possible.
We will also help the state inspect and monitor 180 other bridges threatened by this historic flooding.
Photo courtesy WPRI Channel 12 Eyewitness News
The people of Rhode Island have a lot of work ahead, and they have already done a great job stepping up to help each other. As one Red Cross volunteer noted, ""What I saw a lot of the last few days was the homeowners helping each other out, neighbor helping neighbor."
But Rhode Island Governor Carcieri estimates the damage has been significant, with the cost estimated at over $100 million, possibly topping $200 million.
That's why we knew it was important to release these emergency funds quickly. The people of Rhode Island have been hit hard, and they have my commitment that DOT will continue working to support their recovery.