McCrory seeking $1B from Congress for Matthew relief, repair
Posted November 14
Updated November 15
RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory wants Congress to approve a little more than $1 billion in federal aid to help North Carolina with repairs and recovery after Hurricane Matthew's record flooding last month.
On Monday, McCrory released his requests for the state after the massive rains and resulting flood damage his office said hurt 30,000 businesses and caused more than $400 million in crop losses. More than 3,700 people were in shelters at the height of the storm. There were 28 storm-related deaths. Individuals or governments in 48 of North Carolina's 100 counties have qualified for federal relief.
The economic damage to the state caused by business interruption is likely to exceed $2 billion, according to McCrory's federal assistance request sent to the state's congressional delegation.
Most of the governor's request — $810 million —would be a block grant designed in part to build replacement and rental housing for displaced residents, improve wastewater and utility systems and provide grants and loans to small businesses. The money also would be used to minimize down time for key services during future storms and elevate buildings and other structure to avoid flooding.
Other funds would improve dams and federally authorized navigation channels, repair farming infrastructure and restore damaged roads. More than 600 roads were closed during Matthew and its aftermath, the governor's report said, and the state Department of Environmental Quality has identified 65 low, intermediate and high-hazard dams damaged by the storm.
McCrory also wants Congress to reduce the state's matching-fund requirement from 25 percent of federal funds received to 10 percent.
This request is above and beyond what the state will spend on the matching funds and other recovery efforts and programs the federal government doesn't cover. McCrory has said attaining federal aid through Congress as it returned Monday for its late-year session is a key step toward holding a special General Assembly session soon to allocate state funds.
Two separate state committees are meeting to recommend additional recovery assistance programs. One committee of elected leaders, business people, government officials and citizens planned to take public comment Tuesday in Lumberton, one of the hardest-hit areas. The state has nearly $1.6 billion in reserve to help with supplemental aid.
Hurricane Matthew came two weeks after the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia dropped heavy rains on the state. Now the state is responding to wildfires in western North Carolina.
"No amount of planning could have prepared us for the sheer scale and devastating nature of the disasters we have encountered since late September," McCrory said in a release.
About 78,500 homes and other residential structure were damaged or destroyed during Matthew at a total loss of $777 million, according to a state estimates. About $402 million of the damage was uninsured, McCrory's report said.
In addition to rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew, North Carolina is battling wildfires in the western part of the state. Abnormally dry conditions are helping fuel the fires, which have already cost the state millions of dollars.
Firefighting and protection have cost North Carolina $10 million, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has committed to paying 75 percent of the emergency protective measures taken in fighting the fires.