NEWPORT – One day after the region's brush with Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Lincoln Chafee led a delegation of state and federal officials on a tour of Newport, pledging to authorize $3 million in emergency funding for storm-ravaged communities.
The funds, which will help the state begin repairs to infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Sandy, were granted in response to a letter of intent sent by the Chafee Administration Tuesday afternoon following an assessment of damage to federal-aid infrastructure.
In Newport on Wednesday, city officials were busy working to secure a portion of the funds, which are earmarked for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid roads and bridges.
"On behalf of our state, I thank President Obama, Secretary LaHood, and Administrator Mendez for their swift action to help Rhode Island recover from the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy," Chafee said in a news release. "Some of our most important infrastructure – including sea walls that protect communities from surging seas – was damaged in this storm. The swift release of this federal funding will help us take quick action to begin these projects and put Rhode Islanders to work on needed repairs. This is another indication that the Obama Administration is committed to helping affected states recover from this destructive storm."
In the hours before the funding was announced, Chafee visited several sites around Newport – talking with merchants on Bowen's Wharf, visiting Easton's Beach, and touring a battered stretch of Ocean Drive with Public Services Director Bill Riccio.
The $3 million represents 100 percent of Rhode Island's immediately requested funds. In addition to these funds, Rhode Island will be eligible for further aid or reimbursements for infrastructure repairs. The state's request was among the first, along with that of New York, to arrive at the Department of Transportation and represents the first installment of federal-aid highway funds to help repair roads, bridges and tunnels in these two states.
Look for more on the city's efforts to clean up after Sandy in this week's Newport This Week.