July 24, 2013

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Federal Dept of Transportation to Provide $5 Million in Immediate Aid to New York State for Road, Highway Work in Flood-Damaged Upstate New York Counties

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce $5 Million Aid Package from Federal Highway Administration’s ‘Quick Release Emergency Relief Program’ for Upstate New York Counties Ravaged By Torrential Rain & Flooding Last Month

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, after speaking with federal Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, announced that the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) will provide $5 million in immediate storm relief funding to help state, local and municipal governments rebuild roads and highways. The funding is part of the Federal Highway Administration Quick Release Emergency Relief Program which provides funds to New York State for the repair or reconstruction of roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. Schumer and Gillibrand said this additional federal funding will be used in counties where New York State requested a federal disaster declaration. Specific uses will be determined by U.S. DOT and New York State. The relief funding is expected to aid repairs to federal-aid eligible roads in the impacted counties such as Route 51, Route 168, Route, 5, Route 80, and highway and pedestrian bridges over Otsquago Creek.  

Quick release emergency funds provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are used for a variety of repairs to roads, bridges and tunnels that are immediately necessary. Restoring critical infrastructure is essential to enabling first responders and relief workers to access impacted communities and to quickly restoring services to impacted residents.

“I am pleased the federal Dept. of Transportation is responding with swift emergency relief for Upstate communities who bore the brunt of the heavy rainfall and severe flooding last month,” said Schumer. “The federal dollars, which come in addition to the Public Assistance provided last week, will go to repairing federal-aid eligible roads, bridges and highways in the impacted counties. This injection of federal dollars is great news and will aid the local and municipal governments in their initial repairs, and take a significant burden off the local taxpayers. Today is only one of the first steps in a long road to recovery, but it is a significant step, and great news for the Upstate New York counties affected by the flooding.”

“These heavy storms and floods swept away roads and bridges all the way from the Adirondacks to the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier,” said Senator Gillibrand, who toured flooded communities in the wake of the storms. “No one can question the suffering and damage these communities endured. This federal transportation funding is absolutely necessary so we can rebuild our transportation infrastructure, rebuild our communities, and stand strong.”

Emergency Relief Program

Description: Congress authorized in Title 23, United States Code, Section 125, a special program from the Highway Trust Fund for the repair or reconstruction of Federal-aid highways and roads on Federal lands which have suffered serious damage as a result of (1) natural disasters or (2) catastrophic failures from an external cause. This program, commonly referred to as the emergency relief or ER program, supplements the commitment of resources by States, their political subdivisions, or other Federal agencies to help pay for unusually heavy expenses resulting from extraordinary conditions.

The applicability of the ER program to a natural disaster is based on the extent and intensity of the disaster. Damage to highways must be severe, occur over a wide area, and result in unusually high expenses to the highway agency. Applicability of ER to a catastrophic failure due to an external cause is based on the criteria that the failure was not the result of an inherent flaw in the facility but was sudden, caused a disastrous impact on transportation services, and resulted in unusually high expenses to the highway agency.

There are two methods for developing and processing a State request for ER funding as described in this chapter. The first method is labeled as "Traditional" since it is the normal process used to develop a funding request. The second method, the "Quick Release" method, employs a process to immediately deliver ER assistance for large disasters very quickly. The quick release method should not be used as a matter of routine and is intended to provide a "down payment" on overall ER needs immediately following a large scale disaster.