Appendix A: Secretary of Transportation's Letter to the Governors Requesting Copies of State and Local Evacuation Planning Documents
This appendix provides a copy of the letter Secretary Norman Y. Mineta sent to the governors of the following States requesting their assistance with this study:
- State of Alabama
- State of Arkansas
- State of Florida
- State of Georgia
- State of Louisiana
- State of Mississippi
- State of Oklahoma
- State of Tennessee
- State of Texas
The Secretary of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590
January 13, 2006
The Honorable Haley Barbour
State of Mississippi
Jackson, MS 39205
The 2005 hurricane season had a tremendous impact on Mississippi and other States throughout the Gulf Coast region, and we empathize with the challenges that you and your citizens have faced. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is committed to supporting recovery efforts across the region and improving our ability to respond to future catastrophe events.
This letter is to request your assistance in conducting an assessment of evacuation plans for hurricanes and other catastrophic events impacting the Gulf Coast region. Section 10204 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (P.L. 109-59) calls for DOT and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in coordination with the Gulf Coast and contiguous Sates, to review and assess Federal and State evacuation plans and report our findings and recommendations to Congress. This report is due to Congress by June 1.
At the President's direction, DHS is also conducting a broader review of emergency preparedness plans for all 50 States and the Nation's 75 largest metropolitan areas to assess ways to improve overall preparedness. In order to avoid duplication, DOT is working closely with DHS to coordinate our assessment with this broader review.
DHS has already contacted each State's homeland security advisor to obtain information about its emergency preparedness plans. DOT will also use that information as the basis for our review of State evacuation plans. In addition, I may need your help in obtaining the evacuation plans from local jurisdictions - primarily counties - in your State. This information will be of critical importance in conducting your assessment. In order to help facilitate this work, I would appreciate it if you would provide a liaison in your office. Please identify your liaison to Mr. Jim March at 202-366-9237 or Jim.Marc@fhwa.dot.gov. Once DOT has obtained copies of all relevant State and county plans, it will evaluate them against a list of criteria developed by experts in hurricane evacuation.
I am sure that you appreciate the importance of this effort. DOT intends to complete this report before the 2006 hurricane season, and I look forward to working with you and your colleagues in neighboring States to explore ways to improve our Nation's hurricane preparedness. Should you have any questions about our study, please feel free to contact Mr. March.
Norman Y. Minet