The first legislation introduced for the 2015 Session is a bill appropriating flood relief funding for the dozens of counties that were hard-hit by this summer’s severe weather, which washed out roads and damaged other infrastructure. While many communities received federal assistance, many others did not, and any new funding requires quick action from the Legislature. This bill appropriates state funding that will be matched by federal funds to ensure these communities can continue to recover and rebuild damaged infrastructure and public assets.
Although many of the communities hit by flooding qualified for federal assistance, not all were able to get enough funding to completely rebuild. To help ensure these communities rebuild and recover, FEMA has made available a 75% match if the state can provide 25% of the funding for disaster assistance. It is expected that $52.7 million will be dispersed in state and federal funds once all of the damage is tabulated. This money will be used to reimburse local governments for their share of expenses incurred due to flood and other weather-related damages.
Several communities suffered damage from the flooding but did not qualify for federal assistance. In line with the actions of past years, SF 1 provides an additional $1.4 million specifically for those areas not receiving federal assistance to help these communities recover.
An additional state appropriation of $3 million will receive a matching grant from the Federal Highway Administration to finish much-needed repairs on washed-out roads and other infrastructure. Unsurprisingly, farmland across the state was not spared by the flooding; $2.476 million is appropriated to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for erosion, sediment and water quality control to ensure that land quality is restored for Minnesota farmers. (S.F. 1)