U.S. Department of Transportation Hurricane Maria Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico
September 25, 2017
The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to helping Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and all affected regions. As communication with local authorities improves throughout Puerto Rico, the Department will have more information available to provide the critical assistance to begin rebuilding damaged infrastructure. Please see below for more details on current relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as of September 25, 2017.
Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hurricane recovery efforts are now supporting more than a dozen commercial passenger flights per day at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As the agency continues to restore radars, navigational aids and other equipment damaged during Hurricane Maria, the number of flights is expected to continue to increase.
The agency has implemented a slot reservation system to manage the demand for ramp space at the airport and to safely separate aircraft in the air.
Preliminary FAA damage assessments have identified a number of critical radars and navigational aids that were destroyed or disabled during the storm. The FAA has brought replacement systems to the islands by air and by sea to restore essential radar, navigation and communication services and technicians are working on many of those systems now.
Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is assisting the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works with damage assessments, so FHWA Emergency Relief funds can be put to work in helping to restore surface transportation throughout the island as quickly as possible.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
On Tuesday, September 19, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated the Emergency Declaration to include additional states that may be impacted by Hurricane Maria. This Emergency Declaration addresses existing and anticipated emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, equipment and persons and provides necessary relief. The affected States and jurisdictions included in this Emergency Declaration are: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, on Wednesday, September 20, FMCSA issued a Notice of Enforcement.
Federal Transit Administration
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) continues to reach out to public transportation providers in Puerto Rico to assess their current transportation capabilities and recovery needs, and is working with FEMA on a variety of potential mission assignments, including ferry service between the islands. As of Monday, September 25, limited ferry service is available during daylight hours in Puerto Rico to transport emergency supplies to Vieques and Culebra.
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has provided four vessels to support recovery efforts from the recent Hurricanes, two of which are docked or enroute to the Caribbean on prescripted missions from FEMA. The Wright is currently docked in the port of Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas to off load cargo. The Wright will remain onsite to provide power, housing, food, clean water and berthing to first responders. The Wright can house 325 workers, freeing up local hotels for displaced residents. Wright is scheduled to be on scene for 30 days with an option for an additional 30 days at FEMA’s request.
The TS Kennedy has received a change in mission assignment and is currently sailing from Texas to the Virgin Islands to support hurricane recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The estimated arrival is Wednesday, September 27.