Who can forget the images of covered bridges in Vermont washed away by the waters of Tropical Storm Irene? Or the flooding that occurred nationwide last spring? When storms get violent, they don’t only destroy personal property and cause injury; they also ruin the roads, bridges, and highways that connect our communities and keep our economy moving. As a result, first responders must find alternate routes. Cars are abandoned on highways. Material assistance--like generators, blankets, and food--can't be delivered.
And when the storms clear, there is much work to be done.
That's why we're releasing $1.6 billion in Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief funds today: to restore what natural disasters have damaged and strengthen our roadways so they will hold up if severe conditions strike again. Emergency Relief funds help fix what is broken and help those reeling from crisis take steps toward transportation repairs and economic recovery.
The $1.6 billion was provided by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012, and will reimburse 30 states, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and federal land management agencies for repairs to roads and bridges caused by storms, flooding, hurricanes and other disasters.
The Obama Administration is dedicated to serving the people of this nation, and when disaster strikes, we have a duty--as government officials, citizens, and neighbors--to lend a helping hand in whatever way we can, as quickly as we can. So when the American people can't wait, DOT doesn't wait.
Disasters may have broken bridges and flooded roadways, but it did not break the spirit of our fellow Americans in these communities. I commend them for their resilience and hope today's Emergency Relief funds make their lives a little easier.