The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the immediate availability of $4.6 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for use as a down payment by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to offset costs of repair work needed as a result of storm damage resulting from heavy rain, wind, flood and mudslide damage across the state last month.
“Extreme weather events have caused significant damage to infrastructure across California this year,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This emergency funding will help the people of California make critical repairs and take steps to prevent further damage in their communities.”
“The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with Caltrans to assess and repair the damage caused by extreme weather in counties throughout the state,” Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt said. “The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future weather events.”
California began to see heavy winter storms in late February, bringing damaging winds, substantial precipitation, widespread flooding, debris flows, and significant snowfall to much of the state. The storms caused damages and closed roads in 43 of the 58 counties in California. Storms have heavily damaged coastlines, community evacuation routes, public roads, and Federal-aid highways. These damages include mudslides, landslides, sinkholes, washed-out and flooded roads.
The funding announced today is in addition to $29.4 million in emergency relief funding provided early this year in January after multiple storms and flooding events damaged roads, bridges and highways in late December 2022 and January 2023.
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. These “quick release” Emergency Relief funds are an initial installment of funds to help restore essential transportation. Additional funds needed to repair damages to roads and bridges in California will be supported by the Emergency Relief program through nationwide funding allocations.
The program complements the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs and provisions by encouraging agencies to identify and implement measures to incorporate resilience in the design, restoration and repair of damaged infrastructure, in order to better withstand future damage from climate change and future weather events. FHWA is also updating its ER Manual to spotlight the program’s impact on system resilience and equity in infrastructure spending.
More information about FHWA’s Emergency Relief program can be found online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm