U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced August 10 that she would make $50 million in emergency funds available immediately to help Minnesota move forward with recovery efforts.

Peters said the quick release of emergency funds would ensure that there is no delay in the recovery effort and in rebuilding the bridge over the Mississippi river. President Bush signed legislation August 6 authorizing an additional $250 million in relief for Minneapolis, but those funds will have to be appropriated by Congress before they are made available.

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While we're waiting for these additional funds to be appropriated, we want to make sure the state has the resources it needs to move forward, Peters said.

The $50 million can be used for clean-up and recovery work‹including clearing debris and re-routing traffic‹as well as for design work for a new bridge, Peters said.

Peters released $5 million in emergency aid the morning after the bridge collapse.

In addition, Peters is releasing an additional $5 million to reimburse Minneapolis for increased transit services that have been set up in the wake of the bridge¹s collapse, including extra buses and free express bus service from different locations in the city.