U.S Code last checked for updates: Jun 16, 2021
§ 125.
Emergency relief
(a)
In General.—
Subject to this section and section 120, an emergency fund is authorized for expenditure by the Secretary for the repair or reconstruction of highways, roads, and trails, in any area of the United States, including Indian reservations, that the Secretary finds have suffered serious damage as a result of—
(1)
a natural disaster over a wide area, such as by a flood, hurricane, tidal wave, earthquake, severe storm, or landslide; or
(2)
catastrophic failure from any external cause.
(b)
Restriction on Eligibility.—
(1)
Definition of construction phase.—
In this subsection, the term “construction phase” means the phase of physical construction of a highway or bridge facility that is separate from any other identified phases, such as planning, design, or right-of-way phases, in the State transportation improvement program.
(2)
Restriction.—
In no case shall funds be used under this section for the repair or reconstruction of a bridge—
(A)
that has been permanently closed to all vehicular traffic by the State or responsible local official because of imminent danger of collapse due to a structural deficiency or physical deterioration; or
(B)
if a construction phase of a replacement structure is included in the approved Statewide transportation improvement program at the time of an event described in subsection (a).
(c)
Funding.—
(1)
In general.—
Subject to the limitations described in paragraph (2), there are authorized to be appropriated from the Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account) such sums as are necessary to establish the fund authorized by this section and to replenish that fund on an annual basis.
(2)
Limitations.—
The limitations referred to in paragraph (1) are that—
(A)
not more than $100,000,000 is authorized to be obligated in any 1 fiscal year commencing after September 30, 1980, to carry out this section, except that, if for any fiscal year the total of all obligations under this section is less than the amount authorized to be obligated for the fiscal year, the unobligated balance of that amount shall—
(i)
remain available until expended; and
(ii)
be in addition to amounts otherwise available to carry out this section for each year; and
(B)
(i)
pending such appropriation or replenishment, the Secretary may obligate from any funds appropriated at any time for obligation in accordance with this title, including existing Federal-aid appropriations, such sums as are necessary for the immediate prosecution of the work herein authorized; and
(ii)
funds obligated under this subparagraph shall be reimbursed from the appropriation or replenishment.
(d)
Eligibility.—
(1)
In general.—
The Secretary may expend funds from the emergency fund authorized by this section only for the repair or reconstruction of highways on Federal-aid highways in accordance with this chapter, except that—
(A)
no funds shall be so expended unless an emergency has been declared by the Governor of the State with concurrence by the Secretary, unless the President has declared the emergency to be a major disaster for the purposes of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.) for which concurrence of the Secretary is not required; and
(B)
the Secretary has received an application from the State transportation department that includes a comprehensive list of all eligible project sites and repair costs by not later than 2 years after the natural disaster or catastrophic failure.
(2)
Cost limitation.—
(A)
Definition of comparable facility.—
In this paragraph, the term “comparable facility” means a facility that meets the current geometric and construction standards required for the types and volume of traffic that the facility will carry over its design life.
(B)
Limitation.—
The total cost of a project funded under this section may not exceed the cost of repair or reconstruction of a comparable facility.
(3)
Debris removal.—
The costs of debris removal shall be an eligible expense under this section only for—
(A)
an event not declared a major disaster or emergency by the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.);
(B)
an event declared a major disaster or emergency by the President under that Act if the debris removal is not eligible for assistance under section 403, 407, or 502 of that Act (42 U.S.C. 5170b, 5173, 5192); or
(C)
[(4)
Repealed. Pub. L. 116–94, div. H, title I, § 127, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 2953.]
(5)
Substitute traffic.—
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, actual and necessary costs of maintenance and operation of ferryboats or additional transit service providing temporary substitute highway traffic service, less the amount of fares charged for comparable service, may be expended from the emergency fund authorized by this section for Federal-aid highways.
(e)
Tribal Transportation Facilities, Federal Lands Transportation Facilities, and Public Roads on Federal Lands.—
(1)
Definitions.—
In this subsection, the following definitions apply:
(A)
Open to public travel.—
The term “open to public travel” means, with respect to a road, that, except during scheduled periods, extreme weather conditions, or emergencies, the road—
(i)
is maintained;
(ii)
is open to the general public; and
(iii)
can accommodate travel by a standard passenger vehicle, without restrictive gates or prohibitive signs or regulations, other than for general traffic control or restrictions based on size, weight, or class of registration.
(B)
Standard passenger vehicle.—
The term “standard passenger vehicle” means a vehicle with 6 inches of clearance from the lowest point of the frame, body, suspension, or differential to the ground.
(2)
Expenditure of funds.—
Notwithstanding subsection (d)(1), the Secretary may expend funds from the emergency fund authorized by this section, independently or in cooperation with any other branch of the Federal Government, a State agency, a tribal government, an organization, or a person, for the repair or reconstruction of tribal transportation facilities, Federal lands transportation facilities, and other federally owned roads that are open to public travel, whether or not those facilities are Federal-aid highways.
(3)
Reimbursement.—
(A)
In general.—
The Secretary may reimburse Federal and State agencies (including political subdivisions) for expenditures made for projects determined eligible under this section, including expenditures for emergency repairs made before a determination of eligibility.
(B)
Transfers.—
With respect to reimbursements described in subparagraph (A)—
(i)
those reimbursements to Federal agencies and Indian tribal governments shall be transferred to the account from which the expenditure was made, or to a similar account that remains available for obligation; and
(ii)
the budget authority associated with the expenditure shall be restored to the agency from which the authority was derived and shall be available for obligation until the end of the fiscal year following the year in which the transfer occurs.
(f)
Treatment of Territories.—
For purposes of this section, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be considered to be States and parts of the United States, and the chief executive officer of each such territory shall be considered to be a Governor of a State.
(g)
Protecting Public Safety and Maintaining Roadways.—
The Secretary may use not more than 5 percent of amounts from the emergency fund authorized by this section to carry out projects that the Secretary determines are necessary to protect the public safety or to maintain or protect roadways that are included within the scope of an emergency declaration by the Governor of the State or by the President, in accordance with this section, and the Governor deems to be an ongoing concern in order to maintain vehicular traffic on the roadway.
(Pub. L. 85–767, Aug. 27, 1958, 72 Stat. 901; Pub. L. 86–342, title I, § 107(a), Sept. 21, 1959, 73 Stat. 612; Pub. L. 89–574, § 9(b), (c), Sept. 13, 1966, 80 Stat. 769; Pub. L. 90–495, § 27(a), Aug. 23, 1968, 82 Stat. 829; Pub. L. 91–605, title I, § 109(a), Dec. 31, 1970, 84 Stat. 1718; Pub. L. 92–361, Aug. 3, 1972, 86 Stat. 503; Pub. L. 94–280, title I, § 119, May 5, 1976, 90 Stat. 437; Pub. L. 95–599, title I, § 119, Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2700; Pub. L. 96–106, § 19, Nov. 9, 1979, 93 Stat. 799; Pub. L. 97–424, title I, § 153(a), (c), (d), (h), Jan. 6, 1983, 96 Stat. 2132, 2133; Pub. L. 99–190, § 101(e) [title III, § 334], Dec. 19, 1985, 99 Stat. 1267, 1290; Pub. L. 99–272, title IV, § 4103, Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 114; Pub. L. 100–17, title I, §§ 118(a)(1), (b)(1), (2), 133(b)(9), Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 156, 171; Pub. L. 100–707, § 109(k), Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4709; Pub. L. 102–240, title I, § 1022(b), Dec. 18, 1991, 105 Stat. 1951; Pub. L. 102–302, § 101, June 22, 1992, 106 Stat. 252; Pub. L. 105–178, title I, §§ 1113(b), 1212(a)(2)(A)(i), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 151, 193; Pub. L. 112–141, div. A, title I, § 1107, July 6, 2012, 126 Stat. 437; Pub. L. 114–94, div. A, title I, § 1107, Dec. 4, 2015, 129 Stat. 1337; Pub. L. 116–94, div. H, title I, § 127, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 2953.)
cite as: 23 USC 125