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Ruiz Touts $1.5M for Repairing Federal-Aid Roads Damaged by Fires in Riverside County

The Silver Fire burns near Highway 243 south of Banning, Calif., Aug. 7, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
The Silver Fire burns near Highway 243 south of Banning, Calif., Aug. 7, 2013. Banning-Beaumont Patch photo by Guy McCarthy.
Caltrans will receive $1.5 million in federal funding to help pay for repair and restoration of federal-aid highways and roads damaged by wildfires in Riverside County, the congressman for the Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass announced Friday.

Highways 243 and 74 in the San Jacinto Mountains sustained damage in August and July during the Silver and Mountain fires, respectively. The 243 has been especially vulnerable to post-fire erosion.

Staff for Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, referred questions to Caltrans District 8. Caltrans reps were not immediately available to comment for this report.

Here's the Jan. 10 news release from Ruiz' staff:

Today, Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert) announced $1,500,000 in funding for the repair or reconstruction of Federal-aid highways and roads that have suffered serious damage as a result of wildfires in Riverside County.  This grant comes after Dr. Ruiz and other federal lawmakers sought a formal disaster declaration making the State eligible for the funds.

"This grant will go a long way to restore infrastructure in parts of my district that have been damaged as a result of one of the most devastating wildfire seasons in history," said Dr. Ruiz. "As I have done in the past, I will work to ensure our communities who are affected by wildfires receive assistance in rebuilding and our firefighters have the means necessary to reduce these disasters to save lives, property, and resources."

"Caltrans is committed to keeping highways open and safe for motorists," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "This restoration allows for the continued use of an important and scenic corridor by Riverside County residents and tourists."

This grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration provides funds to the California Department of Transportation to restore federal roads and highways to pre-disaster condition.

In October, Dr. Ruiz introduced bipartisan legislation that would authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to proactively coordinate with states and localities on wildfire mitigation projects. The bill, which places wildfires on par with other natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes, would make states eligible to receive an additional 15 percent of the total funds FEMA allocates for fire suppression to support wildfire-mitigation efforts.

For more about the Silver and Mountain fires see:

SILVER FIRE CAUSE: 'Still Under Investigation' Months After Blaze Tore Through Poppet Flats, Twin Pines

MOUNTAIN FIRE PHOTOS: Property Damage, Watershed Damage, Firefighters, Pilots
Ern Batavia January 11, 2014 at 09:35 AM
When a Republican's in the seat, the 'Rats call this sort of thing "Pork".......hypocrites.
Libi Uremovic January 11, 2014 at 09:52 PM
he's not doing our state any favors - cali has to pay $1.30 for every $1.00 of federal money received and running up more federal debt is an insanity .....these are state roads that should be repaired with state funds .... ======================================== there is only one thing every federal member of congress should be focused on - stopping the flow of our federal tax dollars from leaving our state....
VoiceInThe Desert January 12, 2014 at 10:11 PM
The Republican in that seat did NOTHING for us. The "can'ts" (RepubliCANT'S) just need to bitch from the wings, rather than actually performing ON STAGE. Someone, please call the WAAA-mbulance! Thank you Congressman Ruiz....
VoiceInThe Desert January 12, 2014 at 10:11 PM
Libi....site your sources! That's just plain wrong!
Libi Uremovic January 12, 2014 at 10:41 PM
it's common knowledge - 32 states receive more federal tax dollars than they pay.... http://visualizingeconomics.com/blog/2010/02/17/federal-taxes-paidreceived-for-each-state
VoiceInThe Desert January 12, 2014 at 10:56 PM
"Just sayin' it don't make it so," Now THAT'S common knowledge. This comes without strings, my friend.
John Vollmar January 13, 2014 at 07:24 PM
ходе угандийско. Прекратить жаловаться и наслаждайтесь Америки!!

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