WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced the immediate availability of $50 million in quick release emergency relief (ER) funds for use by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) as a down payment to offset costs of repair work for damage caused by Hurricane Ian in late September.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the funds will help Florida repair roads and bridges that were damaged during the storm.
“This important step is only part of a larger federal commitment: as President Biden said, we will be with the people of Florida for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild stronger,” Buttigieg said.
Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said the FHWA is working closely with FDOT to repair the damage.
“The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future storms in Florida,” she said.
Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida Sept. 28 as a strong Category 4 hurricane with storm surges in excess of 10 feet in many places, followed by heavy rainfall for several days.
The subsequent flooding damaged, washed out and/or destroyed roadways, causeways, intersections and bridges throughout several regions in the state. Quick-release funds will be used to pay for repairs on the Sanibel Island and Pine Island Causeways to restore essential traffic to the islands and protect the remaining facilities, a news release stated.
FDOT has also identified 20 critical intersections in which they indicate a need to perform emergency repairs in order to restore essential traffic.
FHWA’s emergency relief program provides funding to states, territories, tribes and Federal Land Management Agencies for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.
Federal officials said the quick release funds are an initial installment of funds toward restoring this essential transportation link.
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