CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, says this week’s passage of an $85 million flood relief package is a critical step in ensuring the long-term recovery of communities ravaged by this summer’s flooding.
The House of Delegates acted swiftly Sunday to approve the flood relief bill, which cleared the Senate Monday and was signed Tuesday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin at Elkview Middle School.
“This bill will help us move quickly to rebuild our schools, roads and critical infrastructure, and help our citizens get the assistance they need to rebuild their lives and communities,” Speaker Armstead said. The bill provides critical state matching funds which, when combined with FEMA funding, will bring total disaster recovery funding to nearly $340 million. The federal government is expected to provide at least 75 percent of the recovery costs, which includes rebuilding five schools, distributing more than $122 million in assistance grants to individuals and local governments, and $37.5 million in mitigation costs.
“While this bill is a critical step in the recovery process, it’s just the next step in our ongoing effort to ensure the long-term recovery of the devastated areas,” Speaker Armstead said. “We need to ensure that all levels of government continue working together to help our communities rebuild.
“As someone who lives in one of the hard-hit areas, I can tell you that the enormity of the devastation has only been matched by the level of generosity and support shown to the communities affected by the floods,” Speaker Armstead said. “From the first responders and National Guard members who quickly and selflessly jumped in to help, to the scores of volunteers who have poured in from around the state and across the country, this tragedy helped demonstrate the goodness and resiliency of our people.”
In addition to passing the flood relief package, the Legislature has also started the process of re-examining a proposed state flood plan. This plan includes many recommendations to mitigate the severity of future flooding, find better ways to respond to future disasters and improve warning systems.
Important steps have also been taken to assist small businesses in their efforts to make the repairs needed for them to reopen.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Governor Tomblin and others to ensure that our small businesses have had assistance in rebuilding through the RISE West Virginia Program,” Speaker Armstead said. “This program, which provides grants to small businesses damaged by the flood, has helped many to reopen their doors and has helped put many West Virginians back to work.”
Information about the RISE West Virginia program, and other volunteer and assistance programs related to the flooding can be found here. .