I'm happy to write that--eight months after being shut down by Hurricane Sandy--the Statue of Liberty reopened to visitors on the 4th of July.
Last October, the superstorm destroyed Liberty Island's passenger docks, making it impossible to ferry visitors to the island. In February, our Federal Highway Administration provided funding to the National Park Service for repair of the roads, bridges, ferry docks and pedestrian walkways damaged by the storm.
After crews worked tirelessly to complete the docks in time, the island once again welcomed thousands of enthusiastic visitors on the 4th, eager to celebrate Independence Day.
Financial support for this work came from the FHWA's Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program, which provides funding to federal agencies like the National Park Service to repair federal roads and other facilities damaged by natural disaster or catastrophic events. Support for the Liberty Island work was part of $28 million for repairs at five National Parks: the Gateway National Recreation Area, the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Fire Island National Seashore, Governors Island National Monument, and Sagamore Hills National Historic Site. FHWA also provided the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with funds to restore access to the Edwin B. Forsyth National Wildlife Refuge.
As FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez said, "We want to help make sure popular parks and tourist destinations in New York and New Jersey are as accessible as possible and open for business."
Both Administrator Mendez and Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari backed up those words with visits to Liberty Island and tours of the work-in-progress.
It's great to see the Island reopen on schedule; my congratulations to the FHWA and to the National Park Service for a job well done.