Del­e­ga­tion seeks fed­eral storm aid

Law­mak­ers ask Pres­i­dent Trump to de­clare dis­as­ter

Hartford Courant (Sunday) - - Connecticut - By Ni­cholas Rondi­none nrondi­[email protected]

Con­necti­cut’s con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion is seek­ing an in­fu­sion of fed­eral as­sis­tance to the towns and cities hard­est hit by rain­storms in late Septem­ber that flooded roads, de­stroyed bridges and caused more than $6 mil­lion in dam­ages.

In a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day, the del­e­ga­tion urged him to ac­cept Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy’s re­quest for a pres­i­den­tial dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion, nec­es­sary to un­lock fed­eral as­sis­tance to towns, some of which are strug­gling from other pow­er­ful storms in 2018.

For hours start­ing the af­ter­noon of Sept. 25, rain pounded the state, drop­ping up­ward of 8 inches of some ar­eas, flood­ing roads and streets. In some towns, in­fra­struc­ture was over­whelmed and bridges and roads were washed away.

“The storms re­quired our state and many of our mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to ex­haust scarce re­sources re­spond­ing to emer­gen­cies and flood­in­gre­lated is­sues,” the del­e­ga­tion wrote in the let­ter to the pres­i­dent. “Th­ese ef­forts strained a state bud­get al­ready stretched thin by the di­rect im­pact of a straight-line wind­storm, four ma­jor win­ter storms in three weeks, and the ar­rival of thou­sands of Puerto Ricans flee­ing the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Maria.”

The del­e­ga­tion listed com­mu­ni­ties “dev­as­tated” by the storm as Clin­ton, Ch­ester, Killingsworth, Nor­wich, East Had­dam, Franklin, Sprague, Colch­ester, Had­dam, Es­sex and Le­banon.

Ear­lier this month, Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy re­quested the pres­i­den­tial dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion in light of the heavy dam­age done by the rain.

“As the Gov­er­nor’s dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion re­quest makes clear, the state and af­fected coun­ties can all demon­strate that they meet or ex­ceed cost thresh­old re­quire­ments for a dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion,” the del­e­ga­tion wrote.

Though not a com­plete tally, of­fi­cials es­ti­mated the dam­age from the storm at $6.285 mil­lion on Fri­day.

The first se­lect­man in Le­banon, where a road and bridge were washed away, put dam­age there near $750,000. “I’ve never seen any­thing like this,” First Se­lect­man Betsy Petrie said at the time.

In Nor­wich, a swath of town flooded as the Yan­tic River surged. U.S. Sen. Richard Blu­men­thal vis­ited Nor­wich on Fri­day to speak with city of­fi­cials about the dam­age.

“I feel there is re­ally pow­er­ful and per­sua­sive ev­i­dence for FEMA to give th­ese com­mu­ni­ties the re­lief they need and that’s why we are sup­port­ing the dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion the gov­er­nor has sought,” Blu­men­thal said.

In May, a pow­er­ful string of storms marked by strong winds and tor­na­does did more than $13 mil­lion in dam­age across por­tions of Con­necti­cut. A pres­i­den­tial dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion was granted sev­eral months later.

Since then, fed­eral aid has been ap­proved for both lo­cal gov­ern­ments and home­own­ers im­pacted by th­ese storms.

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