US Highway Administration grants $40 million to Puerto Rico Transportation Dept
SAN JUAN – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) 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 María throughout Puerto Rico.
The funds supplement the $2.5 million in ER funds awarded to the island for damages related to Hurricane Irma. These were requested Thursday and quickly approved, according to a statement.
“Puerto Rico was hit hard by Hurricane María, 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,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said. “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,” she added.
The major hurricane caused widespread damage to roads and bridges across the island. In addition to restoring essential traffic, emergency work will include repairs to bridges, guardrails, traffic signal systems and address a variety of damages related to mudslides and flooding.
The FHWA’s 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.