U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced he is making $12 million in quick release emergency relief funds immediately available to New Jersey and Connecticut to help begin repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, while assessments continue throughout the Northeast to determine the full extent of the damage. Today’s announcement follows President Obama’s call for federal agencies to act quickly and bring all available resources to bear as quickly as possible. It also builds on the disaster assistance efforts President Obama approved in the last several days, including major disaster declarations, which make federal assistance – like these emergency relief funds – available to supplement state and local response and recovery efforts.
The funds – $10 million for New Jersey and $2 million for Connecticut – mark another installment of federal-aid highway funds going toward repairing damage from Hurricane Sandy. Earlier this week, DOT approved $17 million in quick release emergency relief funds – $10 million for New York; $3 million for Rhode Island; and $4 million for North Carolina.
“President Obama made it clear that we need to do all we can to help communities get their transportation systems up and running and we are doing that,” said Secretary LaHood. “These emergency relief funds represent only the start of our commitment to the region’s recovery.”
Quick release emergency funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are used for a variety of repairs to roads, bridges and tunnels that are immediately necessary. New Jersey will use the funding to help maintain essential traffic flow and repair sections of highway necessary to prevent further damage; Connecticut will use it for general emergency repairs to federal aid highways.
“New Jersey and Connecticut can count on our full support as their transportation systems resume service,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “Mobility is the first step toward recovery, and we will work with officials in both states to ensure that happens as quickly as possible.” FHWA’s emergency relief program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. Restoring critical infrastructure is essential to enabling first responders and relief workers to access impacted communities and to quickly restoring services to impacted residents.