September 16, 2020 11:00 a.m.

Congressman Peter DeFazio said he has secured $5 million in emergency relief funding for the Oregon Department of Transportation to start to repair damage to the state’s highways from the wildfires that are currently ravaging the state.

A release from DeFazio said “The magnitude of the destruction from these catastrophic wildfires is unfathomable and the need is urgent to repair infrastructure and allow thousands of Oregonians to return home safely”. DeFazio said the roadways are vital lifelines for rural communities and are also key freight corridors connecting population hubs throughout the state. He said the funds “…will help our state take the first steps toward recovery”.

The release said preliminary damage assessments have found catastrophic impacts to parts of the state highway system and forecast at least $30 million worth of damage. Damage includes downed trees, burned guard rails, and fire damage to the road surface. DeFazio said as the fires become contained and access to the road system improves, the scale of damage “…will surely increase”. A release from the U.S Department of Transportation called the funds a “down payment” on the federal commitment to ensure the highway infrastructure is repaired.

DeFazio is the Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.