Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and other members of California’s House of Representatives delegation introduced H.R. 3193 on June 11, known as the “Transportation Emergency Relief Funds Availability Act,” to extend the regulatory deadline from two to six years for using highway and transit construction funds awarded through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program.
Rep. Garamendi noted in a statement that current U.S. Department of Transportation regulations allow the federal government to “claw back” emergency relief funding for highway and public transportation projects if they do not begin construction within two fiscal years of those funds being awarded.
He said the new six-year deadline would start following the date on which a disaster was declared by the respective state’s governor or the president.
“I applaud Congressman Garamendi’s efforts to ensure state and local governments have adequate time to utilize federal funds awarded to repair roads and infrastructure damaged by disasters,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman in a statement. “The Transportation Emergency Relief Funds Availability Act will help make sure federal Emergency Relief funds are fully utilized for significant and complex projects to repair disaster damage.”