When a natural disaster strikes, the cost of repairing roads and bridges can be a tremendous burden to states. But restoring vital transportation links is important so commerce can resume and residents can get back to work and school.
That's why the Department of Transportation helps support states whose roads and bridges have suffered damage from storms, flooding, rock slides, and other events.
And today, we're providing more than $319 million to states across the country to cover the costs of getting roadways back in shape after a variety of disasters. From Puerto Rico west to American Samoa and 28 states in between, DOT is helping pay for road resurfacing, bridge replacement, guardrails, traffic signs, lighting, and debris removal.
Knowing they can be repaid by the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief program motivates states to make emergency repairs more quickly without the hesitation of worrying about funding.
As Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said, "We want states to know we will reimburse them for work that is necessary to get roads and bridges back in service again after an emergency."
Across the country in Alaska ($1.2 million), a Pacific Ocean weather front in October 2009 brought storms and record rainfall to Kodiak Island. That led to severe rock and mud slides, flooding, and extensive road washout in much of the island's northeastern region, including the City of Kodiak.
States receiving the largest relief amounts are Tennessee ($43.9 million) and North Dakota ($50.4 million). Both of those states incurred tremendous damage from flooding in 2010.
When disaster strikes, the ability to reconstruct roadways is critical. I commend these states for helping their residents return to normal activities after such powerful natural phenomena. And I'm glad DOT can do its part.