September 28, 2017 12:15 PM, EDT

US DOT Grants $40 Million in Relief Funds to Puerto Rico

Elaine Chao Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Puerto Rico will receive $40 million in federal relief funds to repair damage wrought by Hurricane Maria.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the Federal Highway Administration will make these “quick release” Emergency Relief funds available Sept. 28. These funds will be directed to road and bridge restoration work throughout Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico was hit hard by Hurricane Maria, so I have directed the department to release $40 million in emergency funding to begin restoring and repairing the roads and bridges across the island,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said. “It is critical to get the island’s infrastructure in working condition as soon as possible so relief supplies and other assistance can be delivered to the people of Puerto Rico.”

FHWA’s ER program offers funding for highways and bridges that have been struck by natural disasters or catastrophic events. Besides roads and bridges, these funds will address guardrails, traffic signals and damages related to mudslides and flooding.

These funds supplement an earlier emergency relief package for $2.5 million, which DOT granted in the wake of the hurricane.

Several departments within DOT also are providing aid. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration exempted military service members who are driving fuel trucks and evacuation buses from the commercial driver license requirement. In addition to those waivers, FMCSA will not enforce the $100 registration fee for truck and bus operators who want to apply for a “temporary operating authority registration.”

FMCSA relaxed similar trucking regulations in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Maria made landfall Sept. 20, resulting in power outages that affected millions of people. According to the National Weather Service, Maria was moving out to sea at 13 mph as of Sept. 28.