FHWA Issues $729M to Support Natural Disaster Recovery

Via its Emergency Relief Program, the Federal Highway Administration is providing $729.4 million to 34 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico to support repairs to roads and bridges due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and mudslides.

[Above photo by Caltrans]

The FHWA noted that, since January 2022, it has distributed over $1.3 billion in Emergency Relief Program funds to help states repair infrastructure damaged due to a range of extreme weather events.

“These funds will help restore critical transportation connections across the country as communities continue to repair and rebuild infrastructure damaged by extreme weather,” noted Pete Buttigieg, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, in a statement.

The FHWA said this round of emergency funding includes support for ongoing repairs to surface transportation infrastructure from flooding in and around Yellowstone Park in 2022; the impact from Hurricanes IanFiona, and Nicole in 2022; the flooding and mudslides that struck Vermont in 2023; and other natural disasters that occurred across the country over the last two years.

[Editor’s note: At the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2022 Annual Meeting in Orlando, a panel of state department of transportation and FHWA leaders discussed some of the lessons learned from hurricane recovery efforts undertaken by Florida and Puerto Rico.] The agency noted that this emergency funding aims to support the reconstructing highways and bridges as well as protect the travelling public from further damages and allow for resiliency improvements as infrastructure damage is repaired.

Video: Equity Engagement for Transportation Agencies

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recently released a video about a knowledge session held at its 2023 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis that detailed ways transportation agencies are working to establish equity more firmly as a core operating principle.

[Above photo by AASHTO]

During that knowledge session, panelists from the Missouri Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Transportation, Oregon Department of Transportation, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials discussed some of the tools, practices, and processes they used to partner and engage with underserved communities in order to understand their unique values, needs, and priorities.

They also discussed how they applied this knowledge early in the transportation planning process to inform decision-making, particularly related to the equitable allocation of transportation resources.

Tatum Lau, social value practice lead at consulting firm AECOM and the session’s moderator, noted that transportation infrastructure has the power to “uplift communities and improve lives,” so the focus of infrastructure construction going forward should be building a system that benefits everyone.

“Equity is not the destination,” she noted. “The shared outcome is for the transportation system to generate positive results for all citizens.”

Several of those panels also participated in the final episode of a four-part Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP podcast series, which interviews key transportation officials about the ways to make mobility systems across the United States more attractive, equitable, and inclusive for all users. To listen to this episode, click here.

The ETAP podcast – part of a technical service program for state departments of transportation provided by AASHTO – explores a wide array of environmental topics that affect transportation and infrastructure programs.

To listen to the first three episodes in this equity podcast series, click herehere, and here.

Environmental News Highlights – January 31, 2024


USDOT Issues $4.9B in Infrastructure Project Grants -AASHTO Journal

US House Advances Bill to Protect Moving Privacy -Transport Topics

No, the federal government isn’t banning funny highway signs –Verify

USDOT Gives Truck Parking Projects $292 Million in Grants -Transport Topics


Airports are finally back to their pre-pandemic normal, Fitch says -Route Fifty



The Fight Over Building Denser Housing Near Transit In Washington State -Washington State Standard

Train-tunnel idea faces fresh scrutiny from Broward amid fierce transportation debate -South Florida Sun Sentinel

West Virginia Division Of Highways Discusses Rollout For The State’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan –MetroNews

Federal Grant Advances Plans for California’s First Wind Port in Humboldt -The Maritime Executive

Pennsylvania’s First EV Charging Station Completed Under Federal Program Opened, One of the First States to Reach this Milestone -Pennsylvania DOT (media release)



NJ Transit scraps plan for gas-fired backup power plant, heartening environmental justice advocates –AP

Hydrogen Is Still a Heavy Lift for Clean Transportation -Government Technology

Low-carbon flights are approaching. Will airports be ready? -Ground Support Worldwide



What is environmental racism and what can we do about it -University of Toronto

Dialogue on Disability: How to eliminate barriers to accessible housing and transportation -WXXI Radio’s Connections

Crosswalk Visibility Is a Safety and Equity Issue -The Elm

Tribal Sovereignty: A Step Toward Environmental Justice – National Resources Council of Maine (blog)

MDOT and OFME seeks proposals for Michigan $15 Million Equitable Mobility Challenge -Michigan DOT (media release)



Electrified Barriers Installed on Top of Wildlife Guards To Help Keep Large Wild Mammals out of a Fenced Road Corridor -Montana Department of Transportation

Oil field road traffic disrupts North Slope caribou more than previously recognized -Alaska Beacon


Share Your Historic Route 66 Story! -National Trust for Historic Preservation

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Settles Federal Lawsuit Over Bike Path -Marin Independent Journal

Colorado Governor Announces Partnership Between CDOT’s Bustang and X Games -Longmont Leader

Yes, Paris has its own bicycle hearse –Momentum

Portugal home to the oldest traffic sign in the world -Portugal News


Baltimore’s bike infrastructure is slowly becoming safer for bicyclists, pedestrians -WJZ-TV

Tampa’s Vision Zero Initiative Gaining National Attention -Tampa Free Press

PA Department of Health Announces Grant Opportunities to Make Communities More Pedestrian-Friendly -Pennsylvania Department of Health (media release)


Container Port Landside Congestion Experiences and Solutions -TRB (webinar)

Evaluation of Change and Clearance Intervals Prior to the Flashing Yellow Arrow Permissive Left-Turn Indication –NCHRP

How AI is Shaping Weather Research and Forecasting: An Interview with Amy McGovern -National Academies

Community-Driven Relocation: Recommendations for the U.S. Gulf Coast Region and Beyond -National Academies

How Are E-Scooter Speed-Limiter Settings Associated with User Behavior? Observed Speeds and Road, Sidewalk, and Bike Lane Use in Austin, TX, and Washington, D.C. -Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board


Federal Share Flexibility Pilot ProgramFHWA (Notice)

National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council – Forest Service (Notice of meeting)

Shipping Safety Fairways Along the Atlantic Coast -Coast Guard (Notice of intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement; notice of virtual and in- person scoping meetings; and request for comments)

National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee; March 2024 Meeting -Coast Guard (Notice)

Construction Related Relief Concerning Operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport, March 31, 2024, Through October 26, 2024 -FAA (Notification of limited waiver of the slot usage requirement)

Public Meeting of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group -Bureau of Reclamation (Notice)

National Historic Landmark Nuclear Ship Savannah Available; Request for Information; Period Extension -Maritime Administration, (Notice of vessel availability and request for information period extension)