Lawmakers urge quick action, express concern about negative impact to the local economy, particularly tourism industry, without timely repairs
Washington, D.C. –In a letter released this morning, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representative Chellie Pingree urged the President to declare a Major Disaster for York County. This request comes as a result of a severe coastal storm that struck the coast of Maine in early March, causing millions of dollars in damages to infrastructure, including seawalls, roads, and bridges. This declaration will help York County towns pay for the damages and rebuild their communities.
“During this period, repetitive high tides caused damage to sea walls and other coastal infrastructure, and offshore winds reached upwards of 60 miles per hour and created swells up to 30 feet. As a result, many coastal communities flooded, compelling the evacuation of residences,” wrote Senators Collins and King and Representative Pingree. “There were a total of 72 incidents requiring roads to be closed and traffic diverted from flooded and dangerous coastline braking waves.”
“Both prior to and during the storm, the performance of state and local emergency management personnel, as well as public works crews responding to damaged infrastructure, was exemplary. First responder crews worked unrelentingly during each tidal cycle to protect lives and property,” the Congressional members continued. “Unfortunately, response to this storm has greatly strained the resources of the local and state government, and the Governor has determined that the effects of the storm exceed the state’s currently available capabilities… In addition to extensive damage to property and infrastructure, we are also extremely concerned about the potential negative impact the storm could have on the local economy, particularly the vital tourism industry, if the damages are not repaired in a timely manner… The State of Maine is greatly in need of this disaster assistance.”
On March 16, a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment for Public Assistance requested by Maine validated nearly $2.04 million in public infrastructure damages across York County, which exceeds the state threshold for a federal disaster declaration of $1.9 million.
Click HERE for a signed copy of the letter.