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US DOT approves funding to repair WV highways

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Highways damaged by two big storms last year will be repaired thanks to U.S. Department of Transportation emergency relief funds.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall, all D-W.Va., announced Feb. 12 that the state has been awarded $1.4 million in emergency funds for repair or reconstruction of federally aided highways that were damaged as a result of the summer derecho or Superstorm Sandy.

Both storms caused severe damage statewide, with Sandy unleashing its fury mostly on the eastern part of the state. Rahall, the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said damage caused significant damage to roads statewide.

"These federal emergency funds will help our state to repair the damage to highways and roads and move us further along the path toward recover," Rahall said in a statement.

Both Rockefeller and Manchin said they are pleased and encouraged the state received the money.

Congress authorized an emergency relief program within the U.S Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, for the repair and reconstruction of federally aided highways and roads on federal land that suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters or catastrophic failures from external causes. The funds are awarded to a state after the president or governor issues a formal emergency declaration and the state files a request for emergency relief for the cost of damages to eligible highways.

Eligible repair work includes emergency repairs needed to restore essential traffic, minimize the extent of damage or protect remaining facilities as well as permanent repairs needed to restore the highway to pre-disaster condition.