The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday, Jan. 9, announced that the federal government is making $2 million available immediately to help cover the cost of repairing flood-damaged roads in Washington state.
“Opening the more than 65 state highways that were closed because of the rain will be tough,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters says. “Fixing these drowned roads shouldn’t be held up in a flood of red tape.”
The announcement was made during a visit to Washington state with Gov. Christine Gregoire, U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and other federal, state and local leaders. They viewed Washington’s flooded areas and received a briefing from Washington DOT officials on the extent of damage.
“This is an immediate boost for recovery efforts that are already under way,” says Murray, chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee. “This funding will help to get debris cleared and get our roads and highways up and running again. It is also the first step in bringing additional federal resources back to Washington state to assist communities in the recovery process. Critical emergencies like this are exactly why I fought to include Emergency Relief Funding in the annual transportation budget.”
The quick-release funds, which do not require a local match like most federal aid, are a down payment on future funding that will be made available once the state has completed damage assessments and repair costs are more fully known, Peters says. Specific locations along the damaged roads targeted for the emergency funds have not been identified yet, she says.
The state can use the funding to pay for clean-up and recovery work, including clearing debris and re-routing traffic, as well as for new construction to replace damaged sections of highway.