U.S. Department of Transportation Providing the U.S. Forest Service $5.2 Million in ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Relief Funding to Repair Hurricane Fiona Damage in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest
Tel.: (202) 366-0660
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the immediate availability of $5.2 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds for use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service as a down payment to offset costs of repair work needed as the result of Hurricane Fiona heavy rain damage in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest.
Today’s funding announcement is in addition to the $8 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds FHWA provided in late September to the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) to repair Hurricane Fiona flooding and landslide damage to highways and bridges on the island.
“This emergency funding will help restore critical transportation routes in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “As our fellow Americans grapple with the damage from Hurricane Fiona, we at the Department of Transportation will continue our efforts to help Puerto Rico repair critical infrastructure across the island that residents, workers, and emergency responders rely on.”
“The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the Forest Service to repair the damage caused by heavy rainfall in El Yunque National Forest,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “The emergency relief funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future rain events.”
Many of the roads in the El Yunque National Forest remain impassable for passenger vehicles. Engineers from the FHWA and the U.S. Forest Service are currently undertaking emergency work, including debris removal and slope stabilization.
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 toward restoring this essential transportation link.
The FHWA Emergency Relief program complements 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, 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 improvements to system resilience and the equity of infrastructure spending.
More information about FHWA’s Emergency Relief program can be found online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/erelief.cfm.