Sunday, January 11, 2009
"Opening the more than 65 state highways that were closed because of the rain will be tough. Fixing these drowned roads shouldn't be held up in a flood of red tape," Secretary Peters said.
The announcement was made during a visit to Washington state with Governor Christine Gregoire, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and other federal, state and local leaders. They viewed Washington's flooded areas and received a briefing from Washington Department of Transportation officials on the extent of damage.
"This is an immediate boost for recovery efforts that are already underway," said Senator 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 which will be made available once the state has completed damage assessments and repair costs are more fully known, Secretary Peters said. Specific locations along the damaged roads targeted for the emergency funds have not yet been identified, she added.
The state can use the funding made available today 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.