Following Hurricane Harvey’s rampage through Texas, major transportation networks and the infrastructure system have become crippled. In response, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has released $25 million to rebuild Texan infrastructure.
On Tuesday, Secretary of Transportation (and Mitch McConnell’s wife) Elain Chao, ordered the FHA to release $25 million in emergency relief funds to Texas, the state hit hardest by the hurricane, so it can start repairing and restoring intensively damaged roads, highways, and bridges.
The approval came following local Houston officials’ warnings that some of the roads and a few bridges were showing signs of crumbling under the immense pressure of the floodwaters.
“I have mobilized the Department of Transportation to provide whatever assistance Texas requires to restore the state’s transportation systems,” Chao said in a statement. “The funding provided today will help the state to act immediately and represents the beginning of our commitment to help repair Texas’ affected infrastructure.”
In the event of a natural disaster or catastrophic event, the federal emergency relief program provides aid to states so they can make the urgent repairs needed to keep emergency services flowing.
The FHWA has pledged to continue to support the recovery and local relief efforts following the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Harvey. The agency vowed to work closely with state, and local liaisons.
More federal funds and resources have also been requested by relief agencies and by Texas. President Trump is also expecting a request substantial relief package from Congress, and indicated that he wishes Congress to act quickly to aid the recovery.
However, questions have also been raised as to whether a major emergency aid package could be connected to the question of keeping the government funded, which in turn must be given the green signal before September ends so a government shutdown is avoided.
Trump has warned quite a few times that he would not hesitate in shutting down the government if the bill does not include funds for his border wall on the Mexican border. Democrats however, say they will not approve of any spending bill that includes money for the wall.