FHWA Releases $50 Million in Emergency Funds for Florida

Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg surveys storm damage. (USDOT)

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $50 million in “quick release” federal emergency relief funds to Florida transportation officials to help rebuild interstates, highways and bridges damaged during Hurricane Ian.

“This important step is only part of a larger federal commitment,” Buttigieg noted in the Oct. 21 announcement, adding that he and other White House administration officials “will be with the people of Florida for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild stronger.”

“The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the Florida Department of Transportation to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Ian in Florida,” said Stephanie Pollack, acting Federal Highway Administrator. “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.”

With $100 million emergency relief dollars authorized annually, FHWA funds will help FDOT fix 20 critical intersections needing emergency repairs to restore essential traffic as well as ongoing repairs to the Sanibel Island and Pine Island causeways to enable the movement of goods and people there.

The funding release coincided with Buttigieg’s same-day visit to Orlando. There he met with truckers and Alix Miller, president and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association, and addressed a meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials meeting.

Alix Miller, Pete Buttigieg

Miller (from left) and Buttigieg meet with truck drivers. (USDOT)

As of Oct. 23, FDOT has inspected all accessible state-owned bridges and was continuing to help evaluate the condition of locally owned bridges. Debris pickup has been completed on nearly 5,000 miles of roads statewide.

Florida state officials have been coping with damage linked to devastating 10-foot storm surges, heavy rainfall and flooding since Category 4-strength Hurricane Ian made land there Sept. 28. Flooding damaged, washed away and destroyed roads, causeways, intersections and bridges.

FHWA emergency relief funds enable the federal government to help cover 90% of repair costs for interstates and 80% of all other highways. Emergency repair work to restore essential travel, minimize damage or protect remaining facilities done within 270 days after a disaster occurs may be reimbursed 100% with federal funds.

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