Flooding from Tropical Storm Lee. (AP photo)

The aid is part of $215 million in assistance that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said was headed to states around the country, where a variety of natural disasters have taken a toll on infrastructure.

“Communities suffering from disasters have been hard at work restoring vital transportation links so that people can resume daily activities as soon as possible,” LaHood said in a prepared statement. “They did their part, and now it’s our turn to give the states the money they were promised to help pay for that work.”

The announcement came as a pleasant surprise in Richmond, where state officials had applied for assistance but hadn’t known it was coming before LaHood’s announcement popped up on the DOT Web site. Virginia will receive about $1.44 million to repair damage caused in August by Irene, and about $746,000 to help recover from Lee, which struck in September.

“We don’t have the official notification, but we certainly are looking forward to getting the reimbursement,” said Tamara Rollison, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Said Taylor Thornley, a spokeswoman for Gov. Robert F. McDonnell: “We are happy to hear that the U.S. Department of Transportation will be providing assistance for recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. We look forward to receiving more information from DOT.”