U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $287 million in emergency relief funds for New York to rebuild roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters, with $250 million specifically designated for Hurricane Sandy recovery. Secretary LaHood was joined by Senator Charles Schumer today in New York City for the announcement. The funding in today's announcement is part of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.
"With this funding, we are delivering on our promise to help New York and the rest of the East Coast rebuild and recover from Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters," said Secretary LaHood. "We will continue to work with the region as it rebuilds, but in keeping with President Obama's leadership, we will work with the states to "fix it first' by focusing on infrastructure projects that will create jobs and help businesses fastest."
Funds from the Department's Federal Highway Administration will be used to reimburse the state for expenses associated with damage mainly from Hurricane Sandy along with a handful of previous weather events. The funds will help pay for reconstructing or replacing damaged highways and bridges, establishing detours and replacing highway infrastructure devices such as lighting and guardrails.
"Our priority after an emergency is restoring the transportation network so first responders and residents can get where they need to go," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "We want to be sure that states have all the financial backing they need from the federal government to repair roads and bridges and rebuild local economies, and that life can get back to normal for people living in affected communities."
In addition, to help states begin recovery work sooner, the Department issued a new rule in today's Federal Register to streamline the federal environmental review process so repairs on storm-damaged roads, bridges and transit facilities are not hampered by delay. Required under the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" (MAP-21), which President Obama signed into law last July, the new rule speeds the recovery process by reducing the environmental review for transit, road and bridge repair projects that substantially conform to the preexisting design, function and location as the original.