Warminster, PA -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is fast-tracking funding for a railroad bridge destroyed by flooding associated with Tropical Storm Allison.
The replacement bridge is expected to total approximately $5 million. The Federal funding is 75 percent of the eligible costs of the project. The first Public Assistance grant of approximately $1.1 million is being processed through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) to help rebuild the bridge on the heavily traveled R5 line, FEMA officials announced today.
"We are pleased to be a part of returning normal commuter rail service to thousands of passengers a day," said FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "The cooperation and assistance provided by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency staff was instrumental in processing the necessary application quickly to enable FEMA to respond in such a short period of time."
SEPTA construction crews worked 24 hours a day seven days a week to reopen the bridge Monday, July 23, 2001. In the meantime, SEPTA had been operating bus service between Ambler and Jenkintown for commuter rail passengers. The new two-track, steel-decked bridge will be more resistant to flood forces, since its design allows a proper hydraulic opening.
Flooding caused by Tropical Storm Allison on June 16 destroyed the 90-year-old bridge over Sandy Run in Fort Washington. President Bush declared Montgomery County a disaster area on June 21. The disaster declaration was amended on July 6 to include Public Assistance.
FEMA's Public Assistance program provides funding to assist states and local governments and certain private nonprofit entities rebuild damaged infrastructure in the wake of natural disasters. The federal agency contributes 75 percent of the cost of each project. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is providing 22 percent and SEPTA the remaining 3 percent.