Lawmakers urge FHWA to expedite support to CalTrans

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A delegation of California lawmakers recently sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt urging the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to expedite emergency funding to the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).

They also encourage expediting support and other resources and encourage full cooperation across agencies and municipalities.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency on Jan. 4 following ongoing winter storms that have severely damaged road and highway infrastructure. Caltrans’ request for Emergency Relief Program funding would be used to support highway repairs and local response and recovery efforts.

“These recent weather events, which include atmospheric rivers and a bomb cyclone system, have caused significant flooding, mudslides, erosion, sinkholes, and power outages,” the letter said. “Due to the consecutive nature of these storms, California is experiencing heavily saturated soil, resulting in an increased vulnerability to flooding. With this extreme rainfall, communities have experienced widespread flooding, especially along the coast and at some watersheds. This series of weather events has already caused extensive damage to California state highways, and we expect additional reports of infrastructure damage in the coming weeks.”

The lawmakers said the severity of the storms requires additional assistance, coordination, and federal support.