U.S. Department of Transportation officials recently announced $7.3 billion in new funding for the new PROTECT Formula program.
In an ongoing effort to combat the effects of climate change and address the rising costs of extreme weather events that negatively impact communities, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced new guidelines and $7.3 billion in formula funding to help states and communities. better prepare for and respond to extreme weather events such as wildfires, floods and extreme heat. It is a one-of-a-kind program made possible by President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
According to Press release:
“In every region of the country, climate change is impacting the roads, bridges and railroads Americans rely on – endangering homes, lives and livelihoods in the process,” said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With funds from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we’re launching this unprecedented effort to help communities protect their transportation infrastructure from extreme weather and improve routes that first responders and firefighters need. during disasters.”
“We see the effects of climate change and extreme weather happening every week across the country, with extreme temperatures and rainfall, as well as floods and wildfires damaging and in some cases destroying roads. , bridges and other transportation infrastructure,” said Stephanie Pollack, Acting Federal Highways Administrator. “The PROTECT formula program will help make transportation infrastructure more resilient to current and future weather events and, at the same time, make communities safer during these events. »
New PROTECT (Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Economical Transportation) formula program funding is available to states over five years to make transportation infrastructure more resilient to future weather events and other natural disasters by focusing focusing on planning for resilience, making resilience the improvement of existing means of transport and evacuation routes and the management of road infrastructure at risk. In general, eligible projects include highway and transit projects, cycling and pedestrian facilities, and port facilities, including those that help improve evacuations or disaster relief. States are encouraged to work with regional and local partner organizations to prioritize transportation and emergency response improvements, as well as address vulnerabilities.
Eligible resilience improvements may involve adapting existing transportation infrastructure or new construction to keep communities safe by enhancing the infrastructure’s ability to withstand extreme weather events and other physical hazards that become severe. increasingly common and intense. Eligible project choices may include the use of natural or green infrastructure to buffer future storm surges and provide flood protection, as well as the restoration of aquatic ecosystems. PROTECT projects can also help improve the resilience of transportation networks that serve traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities, especially during natural disasters and evacuations.
PROTECT builds on other USDOT actions to address the climate crisis and that support the Biden administration’s whole-of-government approach to reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. other USDOT actions include a proposed rule for states and municipalities to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; the Carbon reduction program, which will provide $6.4 billion in formula funding to states and local governments to develop carbon reduction strategies; and the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Programwhich will provide $5 billion to states to build a national electric vehicle charging network, an important step in making electric vehicle charging accessible to all Americans.