Sunday, October 22, 2017

Puerto Rico Awarded $40M in Emergency Federal Transportation Funds to Repair Roads and Bridges

By on October 2, 2017

An aerial view of the PR-52 Highway taken from a drone, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has announced the immediate availability of $40 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds to help restore essential service on roads and bridges damaged by Hurricane Maria throughout Puerto Rico.

The funds supplement the $2.5 million in ER funds that had been awarded to the island for damages related to Hurricane Irma.

“Puerto Rico was hit hard by Hurricane Maria, so I have directed the Department to release $40 million in emergency funding to begin restoring and repairing the roads and bridges across the island,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao in a statement. “It is critical to get the island’s infrastructure in working condition as soon as possible so relief supplies and other assistance can be delivered to the people of Puerto Rico.”

Hurricane Maria caused widespread damage to roads and bridges when it slammed into Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. In addition to restoring essential traffic flow, the emergency work will include repairs to bridges, guardrails and traffic signal systems as well as damages related to mudslides and flooding.

The federal ER program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. The $40 million “quick release” payment is an initial installment of funds used to restore essential traffic and limit further highway damage, which can help long-term repair work begin more quickly, said the Transportation agency.

In related news, the Maritime Administration is providing three vessels to support recovery efforts by providing power, food, clean water and berthing to first responders, freeing up local hotels for displaced residents. Combined the three vessels can house about 1,600 emergency workers.

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