Federal Transportation officials have approved $25 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration to help repair roads damaged by flooding in Nebraska.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the approval today, saying the funds are an important first step to helping Nebraska recover from the widespread damage.
The $25 million in “quick release” funding will be used to pay for the repairs done to restore essential traffic and prevent additional damage at locations impacted by severe flooding, and support efforts to restore traffic and open routes for medical and food supplies for people and livestock.
This initial “quick release” payment is considered a down payment on the costs of short-term repairs while the state continues damage assessments for long-term repairs.
In a released statement, Senator Ben Sasse called the announcement welcome news, as Nebraska is going to be rebuilding infrastructure for months and years.
Nebraska faces severe transportation challenges statewide due to massive flood damage from the Missouri River in the east, to Boyd and Keya Paha Counties in the state’s north-central portion. To date, 69 of the state’s 93 counties report substantial flood damage. State officials estimate nearly 190 highway miles need significant repair, as well as 27 state bridges with damage – including seven that will need major repair and six that must be entirely replaced.
The initial estimate of damage from this storm tops $160 million – more than half the state’s annual apportionment of federal-aid funds – and is expected to climb as additional damage assessment information is received.