When Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast, President Obama made it clear that we need to do all we can to help communities get their transportation systems up and running. That is exactly what this Department has been doing, including an announcement yesterday that we approved $12 million in quick-release emergency relief funds that are immediately available to New Jersey and Connecticut.
These funds --$10 million for New Jersey and $2 million for Connecticut-- mark another installment of federal-aid highway funds to repair road, bridge, tunnel, and seawall damage from Sandy. Earlier this week, DOT approved $17 million in quick release emergency relief funds for New York, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.
New Jersey will use the funding to help maintain essential traffic flow and repair sections of highway necessary to prevent further damage. Connecticut will use it for general emergency repairs to highways.
And today I will tour coastal infrastructure damage in New Jersey with Governor Christie and talk with state and local officials about their efforts to restore transportation and how DOT can help.
Assessments continue throughout the Northeast to determine the full extent of the storm's damage, but keeping roadways open is critical for all aspects of disaster relief --delivering essential supplies, restoring utilities, and transporting the sick and injured.
As Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said, "Mobility is the first step toward recovery."
That's why DOT is doing all we can to help storm-battered communities get moving again. From emergency funds to regulatory relief to technical assistance, we've been using every tool we have available to stand with the states, and we will continue to do so.