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Two million dollars in quick release emergency money is being made available to the Iowa Department of Transportation to reimburse the state for work done on federal aid highways immediately following the recent flooding there, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on July 27.
“The Obama Administration is committed to helping Iowans recover from the damage caused by the floods,” LaHood said in a written statement. “These quick release dollars can make a difference in peoples’ lives by restoring key transportation services.”
Quick release emergency relief funds will be used to reimburse Iowa for the cost of controlling traffic flow, shoring up roads and bridges and other measures implemented immediately after the flooding to prevent further damage. These include strengthening the shoulder sections of the highways, sand bagging and asphalt overlays.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will provide the money that will reimburse the state and localities for the cost of repairs. FHWA’s emergency relief program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.
“Today’s funds represent a down payment on the agency’s full commitment to bring back transportation throughout the state,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said.
Excessive snow melt from the mountains of Montana and unusually heavy rain throughout the upper Missouri River basin resulted in historic flooding of the Missouri River along the western border of Iowa starting in May 25. Flood waters are expected to remain high in the area for several weeks, and several major highways are still closed. The Iowa Department of Transportation expects that the longer it takes for the waters to recede, the greater the repair costs will be as more and more roads are affected.
FHWA anticipates additional funding requests from states that have been battered by extreme weather events.