Search Penny Hill Press

Monday, March 1, 2010

Repairing and Reconstructing Disaster-Damaged Roads and Bridges: The Role of Federal-Aid Highway Assistance

Robert S. Kirk
Specialist in Transportation Policy

The major highways and bridges damaged during the June 2008 Midwest flooding and the 2005 Gulf of Mexico hurricanes, as well as the I-35W bridge, which collapsed in Minneapolis on August 1, 2007, are part of the federal-aid highway system and are therefore eligible for assistance from the Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Emergency Relief Program (ER) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). For disaster damaged roads that are not federal-aid highways, states may request reimbursement for emergency road repairs and debris removal from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA may also allow for limited funding under its Public Assistance Program for such things as snow removal and related operating costs during extreme snowfalls, which are not eligible for ER funds. 

This report describes FHWA assistance for the repair and reconstruction of disaster-damaged highways and bridges or catastrophic failures (such as a bridge collapse). It begins with a brief discussion of the legislative origins of federal assistance and describes the ER program in its current form. The report then discusses eligibility issues and program operation. The report briefly describes the major findings of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on ER.

Date of Report: February 22, 2010
Number of Pages: 11
Order Number: RS22268
Price: $29.95

Document available electronically as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail or call us at 301-253-0881.