The following is a press release from California State Senator Dianne Feinstein:
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) as well as Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), and Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) applauded the announcement of $29.375 million in emergency funding from the Federal Highway Administration to repair and reconstruct highways, roads and bridges in California following the series of winter storms that resulted in widespread flooding, washed-out roads, mudslides, landslides and sinkholes.
On January 11, the lawmakers led and authored a bipartisan letter with 38 California Members of Congress to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt to request expedited support, funding and other assistance to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Caltrans will receive $10.2 million in initial “quick release” funding to help re-establish essential traffic routes.
Additionally, the Federal Highway Administration will provide such funds to four federal agencies for the repair of federally owned public-use roadways: National Park Service ($10 million), Forest Service ($8.5 million), Fish and Wildlife Service ($550,000) and Bureau of Reclamation ($125,000).
“The recent storms hammered California’s infrastructure, causing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to our roads and highways,” said Senator Feinstein. “I appreciate the Biden administration’s rapid approval of additional funding to help repair damaged roads, in addition to its previously approved FEMA assistance. We will continue to work with the administration to ensure all appropriate federal resources are made available as California begins its recovery from these disastrous storms.”
“When disaster strikes, my top priority is to ensure that California has access to the full breadth of the federal government’s resources to help us recover from these tragic events,” said Senator Padilla. “The storms this past month have been devastating. I’m glad I was able to help secure over $29 million in initial recovery funding through this announcement. I look forward to continuing to work with state and federal agencies to secure all of the funding necessary to help us repair our roadways and transportation infrastructure.”
“The recent severe storms caused significant damage to the highways and roads throughout the 19th Congressional District from San Luis Obispo County to the Big Sur coastline to the San Lorenzo Valley,” said Representative Panetta. “This emergency federal funding is a critical step in clearing our roads as we continue to remove debris, fix the damage, and ensure the safety of our residents. I appreciate how responsive the Biden Administration has been to our requests for resources and in our commitment to ensure that the federal government plays a significant and sustained role in our recovery efforts.”
“Climate change is fueling natural disasters – and between the recent earthquakes and disastrous winter storms, my constituents have been put through the wringer,” said Representative Huffman. “My colleagues and I made an urgent request for these funds, and I’m grateful the Biden administration moved swiftly to get this relief to our communities. There is a lot of work ahead to clean up the region and keep residents safe, and I will keep working to ensure the federal government provides the assistance we need for the long haul.”
“Across the Central Coast, damage to our roads and highways have been one of the most dangerous outcomes of these recent storms – cutting off pathways for assistance and first responders, snarling economic activity, and making other repairs more difficult in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties,” said Representative Carbajal. “I am grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for acting quickly to approve our request for additional emergency transportation funds. I will continue to work with local transit agencies and CalTrans to ensure these funds are used to repair and restore the Central Coast’s roadways which are so critical to all other recovery efforts.”
On January 15, President Joe Biden granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of California following an effort by the full California delegation urging expedited action in order to secure federal support for counties, communities, and families impacted by the winter storms. Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz have since been designated by the federal government for federal assistance. Lawmakers continue to advocate for additional designations across California to continue the repair and recovery effort.