WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier this week, Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) and Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) introduced the Resilient Highways Act, a bipartisan bill that would help communities strengthen their local infrastructure against the increased risks of extreme storms and flooding.  The bill is co-sponsored by Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01) and Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02). 

“Many areas of North Carolina have experienced inland and coastal flooding from major storm events on numerous occasions,” said Congressman Rouzer. “These disasters pose an important question to Congress: what can Congress do to help state and local governments mitigate future flood risk?  I’m proud to support the bipartisan Resilient Highways Act to provide local communities with the resources they need to re-examine and strengthen their local infrastructure to protect roads and bridges from the devastating effects of flooding.”

“Investing now to make our communities more resilient against extreme storms will save money and keep our families safe,” said Congressman Kim. “These aren’t just issues we’re talking about in Washington, they’re ones my neighbors in Burlington and Ocean County live every day. I’m proud to work alongside Congressman Rouzer to introduce this bipartisan solution and look forward to working with him to get this passed and give our communities the resilience they need to weather the storms ahead.”

Background

The Resilient Highways Act would allow State Departments of Transportation to use up to 15 percent of funds apportioned under the National Highway Performance Program for projects to mitigate the risk of recurring damage from extreme weather, flooding, and other natural disasters on infrastructure within the National Highway System.  These kinds of projects would include raising and relocating roadways out of flood prone areas, constructing drainage structures, and using natural infrastructure to mitigate flood risk.  In addition, the bill would authorize the federal cost-share for resiliency protective features in federally funded transportation projects to be 100 percent, and authorize the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program to use funds to pay for new protective features on eligible roads and bridges when repairing and rebuilding infrastructure after a natural disaster.

According to the Associated Press, in the first six months of 2019 storms and flooding caused $1.2 billion in damage to U.S. infrastructure across 24 states. Another report also recently showed that millions are at risk of worsening flooding and infrastructure damage, highlighting the need for proactive resilience investments.