Utah Governor – Funds For Resilient Infrastructure

Gov. Spencer Cox Joins U. S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg To Announce Protect Funds Supporting Resilient Infrastructure

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Gov. Spencer Cox joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the Utah State Capitol building as he announced the Biden Administration’s new PROTECT program.  The new $7.3 billion in formula funding will help states and communities better prepare for and respond to extreme weather events like fires, flooding, and extreme temperatures.

“In every part of the country, climate change is impacting roads, bridges, and rail lines that Americans rely on – endangering homes, lives and livelihoods in the process,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.  “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re launching this unprecedented effort to help communities protect their transportation infrastructure from extreme weather and improve routes that first responders and firefighters need during disasters.”

Gov. Cox appreciated the effect these funds will have on Utah communities – especially those in rural areas – and supported the bipartisan effort.

“The PROTECT program will make our transportation system and critical infrastructure more resilient against floods, fires and other natural disasters. It will also give us resources to plan ahead for the future,” Gov. Cox said.  “We are grateful to Secretary Buttigieg and our federal partners for supporting this bipartisan solution.  We need more of this kind of collaborative problem solving in Washington.”

The Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program funding is available to states to make transportation infrastructure more resilient to future weather events and other natural disasters by focusing on resilience planning, making resilience improvements to existing transportation assets and evacuation routes, and addressing at-risk highway infrastructure.

In general, projects eligible for the $7.3 billion in formula funding include highway and transit projects, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and port facilities and those that help improve evacuations or disaster relief.  States will determine where to use the funds.

Utah Department of Transportation Executive Director Carlos Braceras said preparation makes all the difference in emergency response.

“Our crews work with first responders and communities to protect against road damage and debris caused by weather emergencies, and we move quickly when a challenge arises,” Braceras said.  “The PROTECT program will help us do even more to proactively improve transportation resilience and ensure we can keep our roads open and, above all, safe.”