Republican funding leaders in the U.S. House included $1.4 billion for road repairs in a $81 billion disaster aid measure unveiled this week.
The road funds would be assigned directly to states and municipalities struggling to rebuild federal highways impacted by natural disasters. The overall disaster measure is nearly double the $44 billion request the Trump White House asked Congress to approve last month for hurricane relief.
Appropriators indicated they intend to deliver the measure to President Donald Trump prior to adjourning for the holidays at the end of the week. It is unclear if the disaster aid legislation would advance as part of a broader funding package.
“We have a commitment to our fellow citizens that are in the midst of major rebuilding efforts in all areas, including Texas, Florida, California, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said Dec. 18.
“They deserve our continued support, and we must provide the necessary resources for them to recover from these emergencies. This funding is critical to victims devastated by these disasters,” Frelinghuysen added.
About a third of the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico, badly hit by a pair of hurricanes in September, is without power, according to Bloomberg Businessweek and other published reports. The island’s governor, Republican Ricardo Rossello, had requested $94 billion in federal aid. He recently ordered a recount of the certified deaths linked to Hurricane Maria.