Huffman applauds Brown for emergency proclamation for roads
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman thanked Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday for signing a Proclamation of a State of Emergency due to damage to North Coast roads from winter rains.
“I thank Gov. Brown for understanding the North Coast’s dire need for immediate assistance to restore this critical transportation artery and for taking the first step today by signing an emergency proclamation,” Huffman said in a release. “I will continue to work tirelessly with Caltrans and the federal government until our roads are restored and we find a long-term solution to the serious issues facing Last Chance Grade and Del Norte County.”
According to the release, the proclamation allows Caltrans to seek assistance through the Federal Emergency Relief Program for Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties.
The release states that the Federal Highways Administration Emergency Relief Program can reimburse for work done to maintain roadways for 180 days before the proclamation, and then allow negotiation on projects meant to restore existing roads.
The millions of dollars in associated damages in Del Norte County are due largely to conditions at Last Chance Grade, a landslide-prone stretch of U.S. Highway 101 between Crescent City and Klamath, according to the release.
In February 2014, Huffman — who serves on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Highways Administration — convened a Last Chance Grade Stakeholders Group made up of representatives from local governments, tribal, environmental and business interests to review potential highway realignments for troubled stretches of road.
Caltrans is also working with Federal Highways Administration to use the Emergency Relief Program to develop a permanent solution for the Last Chance Grade. The release states that a recent economic study found that a closure of Last Chance Grade would cost the regional economy $130 million per year and force hours-long detours around the area.
According to the release, Caltrans and the California Office of Emergency Services made the proposal to the governor’s office this month.