$830 million to make transportation infrastructure more climate resilient

April 12, 2024

The Federal Highway Administration has made $830 million in grants available for projects that secure transportation systems against extreme weather events. The funds will flow to 80 projects across the nation to help prepare transportation infrastructure for the impacts of flooding, extreme heat, sea-level rise and other weather events that are becoming more common because of climate change.

“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,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

The funds come from a Department of Transportation grant program PROTECT, which focuses on safeguarding against extreme weather through upgrades to ground transportation infrastructure. The program is funded by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which also established a National Climate Resilience Framework. In addition to roads, bridges and highways, the grants will go to public transportation, pedestrian paths and intercity passenger rail.

Projects will move forward in 37 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The projects fall into four types. Resilience improvement projects received the larges amount: $621 million to support 36 projects mostly to improve drainage, road design and relocate or protect roadways against the effects of flooding.

Another $119 million is set aside for coastal resilience against rising seas. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, $12.5 million will help restore 460 feet of shoreline on the edge of the Cyril E. King International Airport to protect against high-energy waves and erosion. Other coastal projects will elevate roads near the ocean and build up erosion protections.

The remaining $90 million will be split evenly between projects that enhance evacuation routes to more quickly handle large populations fleeing disasters, and projects that help communities develop future plans for protection against climate impacts.

“Every community in America knows the impacts of climate change,” said Shailen Bhatt, administrator at the Federal Highway Administration. Bhatt added that the $830 million investment would “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.”

Through the PROTECT program, more than $4.3 billion is already providing support to states.

Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

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