Emergency Relief Program: Federal-Aid Highway Assistance for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Bridges [November 5, 2012] [open pdf - 286KB]
"The major highways and bridges recently damaged during Hurricanes Sandy and Irene are part of the federal-aid highway system and were therefore eligible for assistance under the Emergency Relief Program (ER) of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Following a natural disaster or catastrophic failure (such as a bridge collapse), ER funds are made available for both emergency repairs and restoration of federal-aid highway facilities to pre-disaster conditions. State departments of transportation typically have close ongoing relationships with FHWA's division offices in each state, which facilitate a quick, coordinated response to disasters. Although ER is a federal program, the decision to seek ER funding is made by the state, not by the federal government. [...] The 112th Congress authorized an emergency relief program for public transportation systems. However, this program does not have a permanent funding source, and funds are to be provided only by appropriation. No money has been appropriated to or expended under this program."
CRS Report for Congress, R42804