AASHTO Journal

Fires Plague California as Latest Disaster Aid Package Moves in Congress

dollarpump.jpgA new spate of natural disasters in the form of wildfires has left at least 31 people dead in northern California, disrupted transportation there and added to the nation's growing cost of infrastructure repairs.

President Trump approved a disaster declaration for the state, clearing the way for federal aid to flow.

Most of the fires were in California's wine-growing area, and in a series of state disaster declarations Gov. Jerry Brown said the damages included shutdowns of major roads.

It was not clear when transportation crews would be able to make repairs in the fire-ravaged areas.

Meanwhile, Congress was considering a $36.5 billion disaster aid package that was mainly designed for hurricane victims in the wake of devastation to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida. There were also reports that lawmakers from Texas and Florida said they would press for additional funds later.

And the measure included $577 million for costs of responding to wildfires, the New York Times reported.

Earlier, Congress had approved a $15.25 billion aid package after Hurricane Harvey socked Texas.

However, with costs still mounting from the hurricanes and with the fires generating more costs, some reports say the federal government could end up with its costliest year of natural disasters since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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