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041519 Nebraska trucker.jpg Photo: Nebraska State Patrol

Flood relief for Nebraska

$25 million funding, and truckers do their share.

The Nebraska State Patrol was on the scene taking pictures in March when truckers from their state and others pitched in to help those devastated by floods. A "bomb cyclone" storm dumped huge amounts of rain into already full rivers in Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri, causing severe flooding that cost lives and major damage. 

Nebraska State Patrol posted a series of pictures, with the following message:

“Just a few of the images we've seen of agricultural producers in Nebraska and beyond stepping up to help those affected to the flooding in eastern Nebraska the blizzard in western Nebraska. A reminder: at the order of the Governor, Nebraska has temporarily waived the length and weight requirements for trucks working to assist in response and recovery. Haulers, please be cognizant of weight requirements on bridges and that the routes you take may have additional traffic because of closures on other highways.”

041519 Nebraska flooding hay.jpg

On April 4, U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, welcomed Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao’s announcement that the Federal Highway Administration is issuing a $25 million grant to Nebraska to assist with infrastructure repairs following 2019 flooding. Fischer advocated for Nebraska to receive this emergency funding.

Nebraska state officials estimate nearly 190 highway miles will need significant repair. Additionally, of the 27 bridges in the state that are damaged, seven will need major repair and six must be entirely replaced. 

“The severe flooding caused widespread damage to the roads and bridges Nebraskans rely on every day. I’m grateful to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for making $25 million immediately available to our state for critical infrastructure repair. These additional resources will help with rebuilding, relief, and recovery during this tough time for Nebraska,” said Fischer. 

More information from the Department of Transportation:

The $25 million in “quick release” funding will be used to pay for the repairs done to restore essential traffic and prevent additional damage at locations impacted by severe flooding, and support efforts to restore traffic and open routes for medical and food supplies for people and livestock. An initial estimate of damage from this storm tops $160 million – more than half the state’s annual apportionment of federal-aid funds – and is expected to climb as additional damage assessment information is received. 

This initial “quick release” payment is considered a down payment on the costs of short-term repairs while the state continues damage assessments for long-term repairs. The FHWA’s ER program provides funding for federally eligible highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.

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