Hurricane Michael has caused an estimated $25 billion in damages, according to the federal government. Efforts to get dollars into North Florida are slow and causing frustration.
Congress failed to include disaster recovery funding in its last spending bill, upsetting Florida lawmakers and local officials who’d been hoping that money could help with recovery. Hurricane Michael has racked up to a $25 billion tab. The state has only been able to make a tiny dent in that.
Senate Presient, Bill Galvano, says in order for the area to rebuild, cities, counties, and their residents need access to resources.
“There maybe some new opportunities now for better infrastructure in those areas. But, we need guidance because I feel like you have some portion of the population that may not come back from there. In all silos from education to health care, to hospital issues to schools that have holes in them.”
Galvano says the state will likely spend $2.7 billion of its own money on hurricane recovery and that could make funding the upcoming fiscal year challenging.
In an interview with sister-station WLRN in Miami, Congressman Neal Dunn said even with state help, there’s still other areas that are not being covered financially.
“Of course all of the military repairs to our air force base, our navy base, even the coast guard base those are not covered under the normal appropriations bill, FEMA, or HUD,” said Dunn.
He and fellow North Florida Congressman Al Lawson are pushing congress to fund relief efforts. The U.S House is proposing a hurricane relief program, and Lawson says the program will be in the amount of $8.5 billion.
“As we pass to the house up in congress a stimulation plan which we are saying a hurricane relief program of about $8.5 billion dollars to help this area out. It hasn’t passed the senate yet. The senate is saying we might be able to put a little bit more money in it.”
Meanwhile, individuals giving to storm recovery has lagged behind other natural disasters.