Federal Highway Administration – Emergency Relief Program

Background

Congress authorized in Title 23, United States Code, Section 125, a special program from the Highway Trust Fund for the repair or reconstruction of Federal-aid highways and roads on Federal lands which have suffered serious damage as a result of (1) natural disasters or (2) catastrophic failures from an external cause. This program, commonly referred to as the emergency relief or ER program, supplements the commitment of resources by States, their political subdivisions, or other Federal agencies to help pay for unusually heavy expenses resulting from extraordinary conditions.

The applicability of the ER program to a natural disaster is based on the extent and intensity of the disaster. Damage to highways must be severe, occur over a wide area, and result in unusually high expenses to the highway agency. Applicability of ER to a catastrophic failure due to an external cause is based on the criteria that the failure was not the result of an inherent flaw in the facility but was sudden, caused a disastrous impact on transportation services, and resulted in unusually high expenses to the highway agency.

Approved ER funds are available at the pro-rata share that would normally apply to the Federal-aid facility damaged. For Interstate highways, the Federal share is 90 percent. For all other highways, the Federal share is 80 percent. The Federal share for permanent ER repairs may amount to 90 percent if the combined eligible ER expenses incurred by the State in a Federal fiscal year exceeds the annual apportionment of the State under 23 U.S.C. section 104 for the fiscal year in which the disasters or failures occurred.

Emergency repair work to restore essential travel, minimize the extent of damage, or protect the remaining facilities, accomplished in the first 180 days after the disaster occurs, may be reimbursed at 100 percent Federal share. The 180 day time period for 100 percent eligibility of emergency repairs may be extended if a State cannot access a site to evaluate damages and the cost of repair.

Emergency Relief (ER): Program Overview & Eligibility Video

Federal Share

Approved ER funds are available at the pro-rata share that would normally apply to the Federal-aid facility damaged. For Interstate highways, the Federal share is 90 percent. For all other highways, the Federal share is 80 percent. The Federal share for permanent ER repairs may amount to 90 percent if the combined eligible ER expenses incurred by the State in a Federal fiscal year exceeds the annual apportionment of the State under 23 U.S.C. section 104 for the fiscal year in which the disasters or failures occurred.

Emergency repair work to restore essential travel, minimize the extent of damage, or protect the remaining facilities, accomplished in the first 180 days after the disaster occurs, may be reimbursed at 100 percent Federal share. The 180 day time period for 100 percent eligibility of emergency repairs may be extended if a State cannot access a site to evaluate damages and the cost of repair.

FHWA-ER in the Territory

The Virgin Islands became eligible for participation in the FHWA-Emergency Relief Program as a result of damages from the 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Funding provided through the FHWA-ER Program is administered through the Department of Public Works. The near $70 Million in additional funding provided through the ER Program will be used for the continued implementation of the Territorial Highway Program, a program designed to assist each Territory in the construction and improvement of a system of arterial and collector highways and necessary inter-island connectors.

Federal-Aid Designated Roads & Roadways are identified throughout the Virgin Islands by their corresponding Federal Route Numbers. There are approximately 300 miles of identified federal aid roads applicable for this funding throughout the territory.

Source: US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration