The Maryland congressional delegation is urging President Trump to approve federal funding for parts of Maryland following the devastating flash flooding that happened in May.
On Friday, the delegation sent a joint letter asking the Administration to move swiftly to approve the request for the federal major disaster declaration and supplementary assistance in Ellicott City, Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City.
“We are writing to express our strong support for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s request for the declaration of a major disaster for Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City…” the delegation wrote. “Given the massive impact that this flooding had on state and local resources in Maryland, we respectfully request that you expeditiously approve the provision of supplementary federal assistance, pursuant to the Stafford Act.”
The delegation, which includes including Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., John K. Delaney, Anthony G. Brown and Jamie B. Raskin, said the storm caused severe damage to homes and small businesses in the area. Ellicott City's main street suffered $23 million of damage in 2016 and had the largest impact from the flooding.
The congressional delegation said the initial estimate for all of the repairs would cost more than $10.5 million in Howard County, $8.6 million in Baltimore County, and $3 million in Baltimore City. All of these estimates far exceed local Public Assistance thresholds.
If the declaration is approved, it would allow local government officials and certain private non-profit organizations to get federal public assistance funding for emergency work and repairs.
The full letter written to the President is below:
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our strong support for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s request for the declaration of a major disaster for Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City, due to strong storms, heavy rain and flash flooding between May 27 and May 28, 2018. Given the massive impact that this flooding had on state and local resources in Maryland, we respectfully request that you expeditiously approve the provision of supplementary federal assistance, pursuant to the Stafford Act.
In Howard County, historic Ellicott City experienced significant flooding for the second time in two years, and led to one tragic death. The largest impact was along Main Street, which suffered severe damage to infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, and buildings. The flooding displaced a large number of residents including business owners, and caused power outages and extensive damage to the sewer and water system.
In Baltimore County, flash flooding overwhelmed roads, storm drain infrastructure, and sewer outflows, and damaged other county infrastructure and buildings. First responders performed several water rescues of stranded motorists. Several damaged bridges will have to be fully replaced, and recreational trails will need repairs.
In Baltimore City, flash flooding in the southwest portion of the city caused significant damage to Frederick Avenue, including a slope failure. Residents confronted flooding basements, sewage backups, and power outages, and have ongoing concerns about mold remediation.
State and local officials took appropriate action under Maryland law, declaring states of emergency where appropriate. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency, in conjunction with local officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, conducted joint-preliminary damage assessments which confirmed widespread damage.
We agree that this event was of such severity and magnitude that effective recovery is beyond the capabilities of the State of Maryland and Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City alone. MEMA estimates that the damages in the affected counties will far exceed the per capita Public Assistance threshold.
The initial estimate for public infrastructure damages and repair in Howard County is more than $10.5 million, over ten times the county threshold. Baltimore County estimates damages of $8.6 million, more than three times the county threshold. Baltimore City estimates damages of $3 million, which is over the city threshold.
We therefore strongly support Governor Hogan’s request for a major disaster declaration and for supplementary federal assistance, including all categories of Public Assistance for the affected jurisdictions, in addition to statewide Hazard Mitigation assistance.
We therefore urge you to expeditiously review Governor Hogan’s request and declare a major disaster for Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City. Thank you for your consideration of this request.