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Thursday, October 23, 2008

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Announces $679 million to Repair Damaged Roads and Bridges

GALVESTON - The federal government is making $679 million available immediately to states across the nation to cover costs incurred to repair roads and bridges damaged by a variety of natural emergencies and catastrophic events, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced today during a visit to Galveston, Texas.

"When natural disasters strike, restoring transportation is the first stop on the road to recovery," Secretary Peters said.

Texas will receive $96 million for storm and flooding repairs, including $70 million for the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Ike in Galveston and along the Texas Gulf Coast. In addition, the state will receive $26 million for damages from Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Dolly earlier this year, as well as the heavy rains that flooded El Paso roads in 2006 and other Texas highways in 2007.

"Communities like Galveston should be able to look to the federal government as a gateway to assistance, not a roadblock of red tape. Our goal is to get communities moving again," said Secretary Peters, who toured the area with Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas and pledged to help restore transportation services in the city.

Nationwide, the emergency relief funds will go to 28 states and Puerto Rico to pay for damages caused by storms, flooding, hurricanes, and other disasters, including the summer 2008 Midwestern floods and recent major hurricanes. The funds will be used to reimburse states for fixing or replacing damaged highways and bridges, establishing detours, removing debris and replacing signs, lighting and guardrails.

"Transportation is important to communities struggling to return to a normal routine after a disaster," said FHWA Administrator Thomas Madison.

The funds are part of the 2008 Disaster Relief and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Act that provided additional emergency relief funds. Congress also provides an annual authorization of $100 million for the program each fiscal year. A state-by-state break down of the emergency relief funds can be accessed at


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