Urban Fold

Highway Dept. Going Broke Waiting for Federal Dollars

In Aberdeen, South Dakota, the Brown County Highway Dept. has overspent its budget maintaining flood-damaged roads and foresees running out of money before the end of the year. FEMA funds and other federal dollars are late in coming.

Scott Waltman of the Aberdeen News reports, "For a third year, road crews have spent almost the entire spring and summer patching holes in roads instead of chip-sealing or doing overlay work or other general maintenance that's needed when the roads aren't badly damaged by floodwaters."

Waltman explains that the roads into and out of town are supposed to be reimbursed by the Federal Aid Secondary Highway System, and that flood-damage repairs are covered by FEMA. But:

"Generally, FEMA money is reimbursed quickly. But that's not the case now. Low on funds nationwide, FEMA is allotting its remaining money for emergency causes including removing debris and providing for housing needs resulting from major disasters such as Hurricane Irene. As a result, basic road improvements everywhere are in a holding pattern until Congress appropriates more money for the agency."

Full Story: Highway department could go into the red

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