U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta traveled to New Orleans to announce the first installment of federal funding and the deployment of additional resources to repair damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on the area’s transportation systems.
“I want the people of New Orleans to know that we are going to help you rebuild, and that includes repairing damaged transportation systems so New Orleans can get moving again,” Secretary Mineta said.
Secretary Mineta visited Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and announced a grant of $15.2 million to repair and rebuild the airport’s airfield lighting, fencing and other security systems damaged by the hurricane. The Federal Aviation Administration continues to assess damage to the airport to determine what additional assistance may be needed.
During a visit to the I-10 Twin Spans Bridge connecting New Orleans and Slidell, Secretary Mineta announced a $5 million down payment to repair the bridge and other area roads. Work on the bridge began Monday to restore one lane of traffic in each direction by Oct. 26 and two lanes in each direction by Jan. 6. The funds come from the Federal Highway Administration’s emergency relief program, which provides funding for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid highways or roads on federal lands that have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters.
The Secretary also visited the Port of New Orleans which resumed commercial cargo operations on Monday, just over two weeks after the hurricane. He announced that two more ships from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Ready Reserve Fleet, the State of Maine and the Wright, were on their way to provide additional support to help get the port up and running.
Yesterday, the port welcomed the Lykes Flyer, the first commercial container ship to call on the Port of New Orleans since Katrina. While visiting the port, Secretary Mineta inspected the Diamond State, a ship from the Ready Reserve Fleet being used to repair the port and house relief workers. Two other ships from the fleet, the Sirius and the Cape Kennedy, also are at the port to provide emergency housing and office space.