The U.S. Department of Transportation released $2 million in quick release emergency money to the Iowa Department of Transportation to reimburse Iowa for work done on federal-aid highways immediately following the recent flooding there. “The Obama administration is committed to helping Iowans recover from the damage caused by the floods,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These quick release dollars can make a difference in peoples’ lives by restoring key transportation services.”
Quick release emergency relief funds will be used to reimburse Iowa for the cost of controlling traffic flow, shoring up roads and bridges and other measures implemented immediately after the flooding to prevent further damage, including strengthening the shoulder sections of the highways, sand bagging and asphalt overlays.
The Federal Highway Administration will provide the money that will reimburse the state and localities for the cost of repairs. FHWA’s emergency relief program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. “Today’s funds represent a down payment on the agency’s full commitment to bring back transportation throughout the state,” says Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.
Excessive snow melt from the mountains of Montana and unusually heavy rain throughout the upper Missouri River basin resulted in historic flooding of the Missouri River along the western border of Iowa starting May 25. Flood waters are expected to remain high in the area for several weeks, and several major highways remain closed. IDOT expects that the longer it takes for the waters to recede, the greater the repair costs will be as more roads are affected.