WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the immediate availability of $30 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds for further repairs to roads and bridges throughout Puerto Rico, and $6 million for road repairs throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.
These funds supplement $42.5 million in ER funds previously made available to Puerto Rico, bringing total highway federal-aid ER funding for the territory for the two hurricane events to $72.5 million. The U.S. Virgin Islands’ latest funds are in addition to the $2 million awarded several weeks ago for both Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
“These additional funds are part of the Department’s long term commitment to helping the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild and recover from devastating storms,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The funds will be used on continuing emergency work, including restoring essential traffic and repairs to bridges, guardrails, traffic signal systems and address a variety of damages related to mudslides and flooding.
“Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused widespread damage throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and we know that restoring roads and bridges will be lengthy process and will require a great deal of resources,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson. “That’s why we’re providing additional federal funds today to speed repairs and reopen vital transportation links.”
The FHWA’s ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. The “quick release” payments to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are considered as initial installments of funds used to restore essential traffic and limit further highway damage, which can help long-term repair work begin more quickly.
More information about FHWA’s ER program can be found online at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm.