When a natural disaster like Hurricane Isaac strikes, it's imperative that states and cities can reopen critical transportation routes as quickly as possible. Those roads and bridges are needed to move first responders, to restock supplies and to begin the process of rebuilding. To help do exactly that, we're announcing the immediate availability of $3.5 million in quick release emergency funds to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
This Administration is absolutely committed to helping Louisiana and neighboring states recover from Isaac's powerful wind and intense rain.
Today’s announcement builds on the Major Disaster declaration for Louisiana approved by President Obama last Wednesday, which makes federal assistance – including these emergency relief funds – available to supplement state and local response and recovery efforts.
The Federal Highway Administration funds announced today will pay for removing debris and restoring traffic signals, signs, and shoulders on the roads and bridges damaged last week by Isaac's devastating landfall.
President Barack Obama talks with a resident as he tours a neighborhood in LaPlace, La., to view damage
and the ongoing response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Isaac. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today's quick release funds are only a down payment on the eventual cost of restoring these roadways. Initial damage to federal-aid roads has been estimated at $31 million. However, because some roads in southern Louisiana remain impassable, we're still waiting to assess the full extent of the damage.
And when the damage is finally known, the FHWA's emergency relief program will be there to support the rebuilding process and help get things back to normal for area residents.
There is no question that Hurricane Isaac has disrupted lives and destroyed important infrastructure. We at DOT are proud to be able to lend a hand with critical repairs to communities nationwide in times of need.