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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

DOT's Buttigieg: Funding "will help quickly reopen roads and remove storm debris in Death Valley"

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The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration announced the immediate availability of $11.7 million in quick release Emergency Relief funds.

The money will be used by the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service to offset the cost of repair work following August flooding at Death Valley National Park, according to an Aug. 15 news release.

“The emergency funding we’re sending will help quickly reopen roads and remove storm debris in Death Valley and improve access in and around the park for workers, visitors and the surrounding community," U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release. "This level of disaster, formerly considered an every-thousand-year phenomenon, gives us renewed urgency in the steps we're taking to fight the climate crisis and to make our infrastructure more resilient.”

“The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the National Park Service to repair the damage caused by the flooding at Death Valley National Park,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said in the release. “The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future floods.”

An Aug. 5 storm broke the record for new rainfall daily, nearly equal to a year's worth of rain and caused critical damage to roads, buildings and utilities, the release reported. The storm, described as a "1,000-year event" by the National Weather Service, led to all routes within the park being closed.

The Emergency Relief funds provide American territories, Tribes and federal land management agencies with money for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or other destructive events, according to the release. The FHWA will also provide technical assistance, site assessments and administrations of emergency contracts for the National Park Service.

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