FHWA Distributes $653 Million for Emergency Infrastructure Repairs

Hurricane Maria damage in Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria damage in Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory also received $139 million in emergency relief funds from FHWA in February 2019 for Irma- and Maria-related repair work. (Getty Images)

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The Federal Highway Administration is awarding $653.2 million in emergency relief funds to assist states and territories that have experienced infrastructure damage.

The funding, announced Feb. 27, will be dispersed across 37 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These grants are meant to help rebuild roads and bridges that have been impacted by storms, floods and other weather events.

“This $653 million in federal funding will help communities repair their transportation infrastructure damaged by recent natural disasters,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.



California received the largest amount of funding, totaling over $228 million. This funding is meant to help with repairs needed from various wildfires and floods. Some $38 million was awarded to Alaska to assist with damages from an earthquake and two floods, one of which occurred as far back as September 2012.

Over $50 million was awarded to Puerto Rico. These funds will be used to repair damages from numerous unexpected events, including hurricanes Irma and Maria, which hit the island in quick succession in September 2017, as well as earthquakes that occurred in January.

This grant builds on previous federal funds that have been directed to Puerto Rico. In September, FHWA directed $220 million to the island to assist with hurricane relief efforts. Puerto Rico also received $139 million in emergency relief funds from FHWA in February 2019 for Irma- and Maria-related repair work.

Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands also received funding to assist with damages incurred from Hurricane Irma.

Some $750,000 was allocated to the District of Columbia in response to flooding that occurred in July 2019. The deluge flooded major roads and disrupted public transportation.

New York received a total of $36 million, over $26 million of which is disaster relief in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Another $9.2 million was allocated in response to severe winds and flooding that occurred in October 2019. The final $200,000 is meant to help with repairs related to Hurricane Sandy, which struck in 2012.


A silo bursted from flood damage in Iowa in 2019. The state received $30 million in this round of funding. (Getty Images)

Several states received funding because of the heavy rains that drenched the Midwest in 2019. Snowmelt and rain caused flooding, washed out roads and threatened livestock and harvests on farms across the region. Missouri received a total of $10.3 million, about half of which is a response to the 2019 floods. Oklahoma received $16 million, South Dakota got $26 million, and Iowa received $30 million. Illinois was allocated over $4 million, while Kansas received $3.7 million.

Many of these Midwestern states previously received funding during FHWA’s spate of emergency relief grants that were distributed in September.

FHWA has provided $4.2 billion to states, territories, federal land management agencies and tribal governments since 2017 to cover eligible expenses associated with natural disasters. In addition to reconstructing roads and bridges, the funds can help with the arrangement of detours and the replacement of damaged safety devices.

“These funds are one of many ways we work to restore the nation’s damaged roads and bridges after natural disasters or other tragedies that disrupt travel,” Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason said.

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