Lawmakers introduce Resilient Highways Act
WASHINGTON (WENY) -- In an effort to combat the infrastructure damage due to extreme weather in recent years, lawmakers have introduced the Resilient Highways Act.
The measure would incentivize investments in strengthening highway infrastructure to protect against future floods and natural disasters, which supporters say will save money in the long-term.
Specifically, the legislation would allow states to use up to 15 percent of the funds apportioned under the National Highways Performance Programs for projects to mitigate the risk of recurring damage from natural disasters.
That includes raising and relocating roadways out of flood or slide-prone areas, and constructing new protective features like drainage structures.
"Families and business owners across our state are already seeing firsthand the enormous damage that rising sea levels and extreme weather – the consequences of climate change – are having on our roads and bridges," supporter Senator Gillibrand said. "Congress has a responsibility to make sure our states have the resources they need to protect their most essential infrastructure from the worst damage, and that's what the Resilient Highways Act would help do. I'm proud to introduce this urgently needed bill and pleased it was included in America's Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 that will be marked up in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week."
The act would also authorize federal emergency relief funds to be used to pay for new protective features on highways and bridges when repairing infrastructure after a natural disaster, so states are doing more than just rebuilding back what was lost.