Casey: Storm Aid Is Vital to PA; Projects Need to Go Forward Without Delay
WASHINGTON DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey released a letter to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, urging him to speed up the delivery of storm aid to Pennsylvania.
With winter fast approaching and much of the state still reeling from an unprecedented storm season, the slow pace of FEMA aid flowing into the state could imperil rebuilding projects across the state. Some projects like the repair of roads, bridges and basic infrastructure could go unfinished, some postponed for a whole year.
“Pennsylvania has been hit with a double wammy- flooding that has damaged countless homes and entire communities and now a slow aid process that could cripple our recovery,” Casey said. “FEMA has a lot on their plate but prioritizing aid for colder states like Pennsylvania is essential to ensure that we can rebuild before winter makes it impossible.”
All across Pennsylvania families saw their livelihoods upended by a string of natural disasters that left communities and lives changed forever. Some estimates, indicate that the damage could cost at least $200 million.
The fact that so many of these natural disasters took place in fall make the urgency of rebuilding quickly for cold states like Pennsylvania all the more important. Attempts to rebuild across the state have been hampered by delays in aid delivery. In some instances municipalities have been forced to use their own funds for rebuilding, which has left many municipalities strapped for cash.
Projects throughout Pennsylvania await finishing. In Middletown, there’s an electric substation that provides power to 8,900 residents in need of repair. In South Hanover Twp., roads, alongside sewer pumps and other township property were damaged. In parts of Montgomery County roads remain in disrepair as municipalities await funds- and this scene repeats itself across much of the state.
In his letter to Administrator Fugate, Casey urged that FEMA do everything in its power to speed up the aid process so Pennsylvania’s families and businesses can complete the rebuilding process before winter closes the door for an entire season.
The full text of Casey’s letter to Administrator Fugate can be seen below.
October 26, 2011
Mr. William Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
500 C Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20472
Dear Mr. Fugate:
As you know, my constituents in Pennsylvania continue to recover and rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. With winter approaching, many in the affected communities are concerned that they will not be able to implement reconstruction projects before the weather turns colder. Pennsylvania has experienced harsh winters in recent years. I strongly urge FEMA to prioritize assistance to Pennsylvania over other states that do not face the same cold winter climate.
The damage to local communities and nonprofits in Pennsylvania is estimated to be at least $200 million. Some communities have begun construction repairs with their own funding with the expectation of being reimbursed in the future. Other communities do not currently have the funds to pay for these essential repairs. With this in mind, I urge FEMA to move expeditiously to address the ongoing need for public assistance funding and expedite the processing of public assistance applications.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this critical matter.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator