$5M made available for Ike repairs

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The federal government is making $5 million available immediately to begin funding work to repair roads, bridges and airports damaged by Hurricane Ike, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced Wednesday, Sept. 17, during a visit to the Houston region. Peters says more funds will be made available for repair and reconstruction work once damage assessments for the region’s transportation network have been completed.

“These funds are a down payment on our commitment to the people of this region,” Peters says. “We will help reopen the roads so people can get back to their homes, and back to their lives, as quickly as possible.”

The Federal Highway Administration is providing $2 million in quick release emergency highway funding for road and bridge work in Texas, and another $2 million in emergency highway funding for Louisiana. Peters says the money will be available immediately to reimburse road crews for the costs of clearing debris, rerouting traffic and making initial repairs.

Peters also committed to helping provide the resources needed to Texas and Louisiana to support the states’ efforts to complete damage assessments for the region’s highways network. Once those assessments are completed, Peters says, then both states would be eligible for additional emergency highway funds.

The Federal Aviation Administration is making $1 million in Airport Improvement Program funds immediately available for repair work at the Galveston Scholes Airport. Peters says the money would help pay for structural and engineering assessments needed to catalogue the widespread damages to the airport. “These airports are absolutely vital to the economy of this area,” she says. “Getting communities reconnected to the skies is a good way to make sure this region soars again.”

Peters says she will work with Congress to find a solution to help the airports rebuild. Ellington is a general aviation airport that sustained damages to its facilities, including to the air traffic control tower. “We will help you show the world that even a Texas-sized storm can’t dampen the spirit of this vibrant and vital region,” Peters says.