Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the federal Department of Transportation is releasing $89,751,296 in congressionally-approved emergency relief money for New York State after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Specifically, this investment will help fund repairs to washed out roads and bridges, debris deposits on roadways, damaged roadway surfaces and more. Schumer and Gillibrand supported the legislation which appropriated this emergency funding and applauded the federal DOT for its allocation of funding to New York, as it will provide critical aid to the state in its rebuilding efforts from last year’s devastating storms. This grant includes $67 million for damages related to Hurricane Irene and $22.5 million for damages related to Tropical Storm Lee.
“We fought hard to secure emergency federal funding – in recently passed transportation legislation – to help hard hit areas of New York get back on their feet following the devastating damage wreaked by tropical storms Irene and Lee,” said Schumer. “This investment will both create jobs and ensure we continue rebuilding roadways and bridges that are absolutely essential to our economy in cities and rural communities alike. I will continue to fight for the vital federal support needed to build and rebuild key infrastructure as we continue on the road to recovery.”
“These massive storms may be months behind us, but much of the damage is still here,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This emergency funding will help our effort to rebuild the miles of roads and bridges that were washed away so families and businesses across New York can continue to recover, and get back on their feet.”
New York suffered flooding and substantial damage to roads and bridges as a result of rainfall from Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. NYSDOT will use funds to expedite emergency repairs to roads, highways and bridges in counties throughout the state. NYSDOT estimates that overall damage to federal-aid highways from these floods will likely exceed $100 million. Schumer and Gillibrand noted that typical damage in New York included washed out roadways and bridges, debris deposits on roadways, damaged culverts, and damaged roadway surfaces.
In November, Schumer and Gillibrand pushed for passage of legislation that included billions of dollars in disaster funding to help New Yorkers recover from Tropical Storms Irene and Lee including $1.66 Billion for Federal Highways Administration Emergency Relief Program to fund disaster aid nationwide.
The Emergency Relief (ER) program within the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, is authorized to provide funds for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid highways and roads on federal lands that have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters or catastrophic failures from an external cause. These funds are awarded to a state if a Governor declares a state of emergency or after the President issues a major disaster declaration the state files a request for ER for the cost of damages to its eligible highways. Eligible repair work includes emergency repairs needed to restore essential traffic, minimize the extent of damage, or protect the remaining facilities as well as permanent repairs necessary to restore the highway to its pre-disaster condition.