U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced he is making $4 million in quick release emergency relief funds immediately available to North Carolina 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.
North Carolina follows New York and Rhode Island in requesting assistance from the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the $4 million approved today represents another installment of federal-aid highway funds going toward repair. Yesterday, DOT approved $13 million in quick release emergency relief funds - $10 million for New York and $3 million for Rhode Island. DOT is expecting other states impacted by Hurricane Sandy to apply for additional emergency relief funding in the coming days.
"President Obama has made it a national priority to provide immediate assistance to states impacted by this unprecedented storm," said Secretary LaHood. "These emergency relief funds represent only the beginning of our commitment to restoring transportation in the region."
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. North Carolina will use the funding to repair damage along the coast in Dare County, in the Outer Banks area, where parts of US 158 and NC 12 remain closed.
"North Carolina can count on full support from the federal government during this time of need," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said. "It's essential to get roads and bridges fixed so people can begin to get back to normal life."
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.