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December 4, 2017

LePage submits request for federal storm damage aid

Courtesy / CMP
Courtesy / CMP
Gov. Paul LePage has submitted the state's request for federal assistance to pay for $4.7 million in public infrastructure damages throughout 13 counties due to the severe storm that slammed Maine Oct. 29-Nov. 1.

Gov. Paul R. LePage has submitted the state's request for federal assistance to pay for $4.7 million in public infrastructure damages throughout 13 counties caused by the severe storm that slammed Maine with high winds, rain and flooding from Oct. 29 through Nov. 1.

The request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration was made in a Nov. 29 letter sent to Paul F. Ford, acting regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region 1 office in Boston.

LePage's request is only for assistance to pay for public infrastructure damages and does not include damages incurred by individuals or businesses, according to a news release from the governor's office. The state, however, is requesting a Small Business Administration Administrative Declaration to assist affected businesses — noting that more than 200 small businesses reported loss of revenue, damage to products and damage to buildings and equipment.

"The strong winds and heavy rains caused extensive damage as trees, many still in full leaf and weakened by drought, snapped or uprooted in rain-saturated soil," LePage said. "The falling trees pulled down wires, snapped more than 1,400 poles, and left many roads impassable, causing widespread power outages greater than those of the 1998 Ice Storm. Several communities spent days clearing debris that created life-safety issues from public rights-of-way. The cost for that clean-up work will be considerable and will cut deeply into public works budgets. This devastating storm has placed a financial burden on towns and counties."

The governor's office noted that the state's request far exceeded the threshold needed to be eligible for federal assistance for public infrastructure damages.

Other assistance is being requested by the Farm Service Agency in Maine, which has submitted an Administrator's Physical Loss Notification request for assistance to its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, due to the storm damage affecting several thousand farms in the state.

A worksheet accompanying LePage's letter to FEMA's regional office provides the following breakdown for public infrastructure damages and expenses incurred during the Oct. 29-Nov. 1 storm:

  • Debris removal: $3.16 million, or 67.5% of the total.
  • Protective measures: $752,349, 16% of total.
  • Roads and bridges: $535,700, 11.4% of total.
  • Water control: $40,375, 0.86% of total.
  • Buildings and equipment: $82,590, 1.76% of total.
  • Public utilities: $93,211, 1.99% of total.
  • Parks and other: $18,883, 0.40% of total.

The Governor's Office reported that more than 210 small businesses reported losses due to the storm as well as more than 7,000 farms, with more than 2,000 farms reporting physical damage to structures, equipment and fences.

At $752,967, Cumberland County reported the highest overall damage estimate for public infrastructure, with York ($418,616), Penobscot (353,371), Kennebec ($340,335) and Hancock ($211,523) being the next highest counties.

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