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DOT 136-08Contact: Brian Turmail
Wednesday, September 17, 2008Tel.: (202) 366-4570

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters Announces $5 Million to Begin Funding Repair Work for Roads, Bridges and Airports Damaged by Hurricane Ike

The federal government is making $5 million available immediately to begin funding work to repair roads, bridges and airports damaged by Hurricane Ike, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced today during a visit to the Houston region. She added that more funds will be made available for repair and reconstruction work once damages assessed for the region's transportation network have been completed.

"These funds are a down payment on our commitment to the people of this region," said Secretary Peters. "We will help reopen the roads so people can get back to their homes, and back to their lives, as quickly as possible."

The Secretary said that the Federal Highway Administration was providing $2 million in quick release emergency highway funding for road and bridge work in Texas, and another $2 million in emergency highway funding for Louisiana. She noted that the money would be immediately available to reimburse road crews for the costs of clearing debris, rerouting traffic and making initial repairs.

She also committed to helping provide the resources needed to Texas and Louisiana to support the states' efforts to complete damage assessments for the region's highways network. Once those assessments are completed, the Secretary added, then both states would be eligible for additional emergency highway funds.

Secretary Peters also announced that the Department's Federal Aviation Administration was making $1 million in Airport Improvement Program funds immediately available for repair work at the Galveston Scholes Airport. She said the money would help pay for structural and engineering assessments needed to catalogue the widespread damages to the airport.

"These airports are absolutely vital to the economy of this area," the Secretary said. "Getting communities reconnected to the skies is a good way to make sure this region soars again."

The Secretary also said she would work with Congress to find a solution to help the airports rebuild. Ellington is a general aviation airport that sustained damages to its facilities, including to the air traffic control tower.

"We will help you show the world that even a Texas-sized storm can't dampen the spirit of this vibrant and vital region," Secretary Peters added.

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