The federal government is making $4 million available immediately in emergency relief funds for Louisiana and Mississippi to help pay for urgent repairs to roads and bridges damaged by floods.

"We want states to get roads cleared, bridges reopened and traffic moving as quickly as possible," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters.

Peters said the $4 million quick release was intended to help Louisiana and Mississippi to address repairs that need immediate attention, to pay for debris removal and initiate repair contracts. The states will receive $3 million and $1 million respectively.

The Secretary added that the DOT would continue to work with officials from Louisiana and Mississippi as they evaluate the extent of road damage caused by the floods. She said more resources will likely be made available based on those evaluations.

"Restoring transportation links is key in the aftermath of a natural disaster," said FHWA Administrator Thomas J. Madison.

The Federal Highway Administration's emergency relief program provides funds to states for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid highways damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. The program typically works on a reimbursable basis. These emergency relief funds are provided from the General Fund of the Treasury and not the Highway Trust Fund.