Gov. Scott says Keys face ‘long road’ to recovery
OPA-LOCKA — Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the state — and particularly the Keys — faces “a long road” to recovery from Hurricane Irma.
Speaking to reporters at a Coast Guard air station after surveying damage from the air, Scott said damage to Southwest Florida was “not as bad as we thought the storm surge would do,” but damage to the Keys was “devastating.”
In the Keys north of Key West, Scott said, “I don’t think I saw one trailer park that almost everything wasn’t overturned.”
He also said there is widespread loss of electricity, water and sewer service there.
“It’s very tough . ... My heart goes out to the Keys. There’s devastation, and I just hope everybody survived.”
He added: “For our entire state and especially for the Keys, it’s going to be a long road. There’s a lot of damage.”
Scott praised first responders and the military for their help and said the White House has been “outstanding” in its response. He said he spoke to President Donald Trump three times Sunday and has spoken to Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and Vice President Mike Pence as well.
Scott said about 65 percent of Florida is without power, and “it’s going to take a long time to get power back.”
Scott said he’s been in regular contact with utilities and with fuel suppliers.
“It’s going to take a few days to get caught up” on gas supplies, the governor said.
Scott said he hasn’t estimated how much storm damage will cost. U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami, who represents the Keys, predicted a hefty price tag.
“We don’t have an exact estimate, but I can guarantee you it is going to cost billions upon billions upon billions of dollars to help the Florida Keys, Florida’s Southwest Coast and, obviously, some of our residents here in MiamiDade and Broward counties to recover,” Curbelo said.
“FEMA needs solid, longterm funding so they can respond to this crisis, to the crisis in Texas and to future crises that we can expect,” Curbelo said.
Gov. Rick Scott says he spoke to president three times Sunday.