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White House announces $113 million in grants to New York to make transportation infrastructure more resilient to climate change 


Fri, Apr 12th 2024 12:05 pm

Funded by president’s Investing in America agenda, new program supports projects to protect bridges, roads, ports, rail and transit from extreme weather & impacts of climate change

U.S. Department of Transportation Press Release

The Biden-Harris administration on Thursday announced nearly $113 million grants to five recipients in New York for projects that will help strengthen transportation infrastructure against the worsening effects of climate change.

These grants are five of 80 projects nationwide that will receive nearly $830 million in grant awards to help states and local communities save taxpayers money while strengthening surface-transportation systems and making them more resilient to extreme weather events worsened by the climate crisis, flooding, sea-level rise, heat waves, and other disasters.

These grants are the first of their kind dedicated to transportation infrastructure resilience and were made possible by Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary Grant Program, which complements PROTECT Formula funding that is already flowing to states for these types of projects. To strengthen America’s climate resilience, Biden has secured more than $50 billion for climate resilience and adaptation through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, and established a National Climate Resilience Framework, which is advancing locally tailored, community-driven climate resilience strategies.

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change and are causing increasing damage to our transportation system, which was primarily designed and built before the realities of our current climate. As part of Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the PROTECT Grant Program is funding projects that will strengthen the country’s surface transportation system against extreme weather events, including roads, bridges, highways, public transportation, pedestrian facilities, ports, and intercity passenger rail. By increasing the resilience of these assets, these investments will reduce short- and long-term costs by minimizing future needs for maintenance and reconstruction.

“From wildfires shutting down freight rail lines in California to mudslides closing down a highway in Colorado, from a drought causing the halt of barge traffic on the Mississippi River to subways being flooded in New York, extreme weather – made worse by climate change – is damaging America’s transportation infrastructure, cutting people off from getting to where they need to go, and threatening to raise the cost of goods by disrupting supply chains,” Secretary of State Pete Buttigieg said. “Today, through a first-of-its-kind program created by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are awarding nearly $830 million to make transportation infrastructure in 39 states and territories more resilient against climate change, so people and supply chains can continue to move safely.”

FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt said, “Every community in America knows the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, including increasingly frequent heavy rain and flooding events across the country and the sea-level rise that is inundating infrastructure in coastal states. This investment from the Biden-Harris administration will ensure our infrastructure is built to withstand more frequent and unpredictable extreme weather, which is vitally important for people and businesses that rely on roads and bridges being open to keep our economy moving.”

Project selections in New York totaling nearly $113 million include:

•The New York State Thruway Authority will receive $39 million to repair and modify the South Grand Island Bridges to make them more resistant to seismic activity, ground motion, and soil failure resulting from earthquakes. The twin bridges provide an evacuation route across the Niagara River on Interstate 190 for more than 21,000 residents of Grand Island. The project also will enhance safety for vehicles and maintenance operations and provide better connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists.  

•The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive over $33.2 million to install a complete stormwater drainage system at Westchester Yard in the Bronx where subway trains are stored for the Pelham Bay 6 Line. The Pelham Bay 6 Line is New York City Transit’s busiest subway line. It serves an estimated 500,000 people on a typical weekday and is prone to ponding and flash flooding during heavy rains.  

•The New York State Department of Transportation will receive nearly $24 million to raise a small segment of U.S. Route 6 from Roa Hook Road to Camp Smith approximately 7 feet. The goal is to ensure the roadway remains passable when sea levels rise, and to reduce the risk of roadway closures due to flooding. The segment is a key route for emergency responders and is part of the National Highway System and within FEMA’s 100-year floodplain. 

•The New York City Department of Transportation will receive $15 million to replace the 119-year-old Grand Street Bridge in Brooklyn that was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The bridge will be replaced with a new structure that will have elevated electrical and mechanical equipment, which will be resilient against water damage from future anticipated sea level and storm surges, and feature standard width lanes, separated cycling infrastructure and wider walking paths.  

•The New York State Department of Transportation will receive $1.65 million to develop and coordinate emergency response plans for a four-county region in Western New York, including Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua. The project will examine vulnerabilities around roadway and transit operations as well as maintenance practices during severe winter snowstorms made more challenging by lake-effect snow. One goal is to identify ways to consistently and proactively communicate with residents about openings, closures, travel conditions and to support emergency responders.

As part of this announcement, the Federal Highway Administration is awarding funding to 80 projects in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. The funding is divided among four separate grant categories: planning, resilience improvements, community resilience and evacuation routes, and at-risk coastal infrastructure.

The full list of grant recipients is available here.

The program also will improve equity and further environmental justice by addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities that are often the most vulnerable to hazards. The program encouraged applicants from all levels of government – from local governments and Tribes to state DOTs – to apply for PROTECT discretionary-grant funding, which complements the PROTECT formula funding that is already flowing to states. Consistent with the objectives of the National Climate Resilience Framework, these awards will help these communities across the country become not only more resilient, but also more safe, healthy, equitable, and economically strong.

For more information on the PROTECT Program, visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/protect/.

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