Maryland Congressional Delegation Urges Approval of Federal Disaster Declaration and Assistance for Flood Recovery Efforts in Ellicott City, Howard and Baltimore Counties, and Baltimore City
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Maryland congressional delegation today called on the Trump administration to move swiftly to approve the state’s request for federal major disaster declaration and supplementary assistance following the mid-May flashfloods that devastated Howard County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City.
“We are writing to express our strong support for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s request for the declaration of a major disaster for Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City,” the delegation wrote in a joint letter to the president. “Given the massive impact that this flooding had on state and local resources in Maryland, we respectfully request that you expeditiously approve the provision of supplementary federal assistance….”
The full congressional delegation, including Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Andy Harris, M.D., John K. Delaney, Anthony G. Brown and Jamie B. Raskin, noted that the May 27-29 storm overwhelmed water and transportation infrastructure, causing severe damage to residences and small businesses in the region. In Howard County, Ellicott City’s historic Main Street – which suffered $23 million in damages from a major flood in 2016 – felt the largest impact. Flooding in Ellicott City ravaged streets, sidewalks and buildings, leading to one tragic death and the displacement of business owners and residents. Flood waters also caused critical damage to Baltimore’s Frederick Avenue, and left residents with ongoing damages to their homes. In Baltimore County, several bridges will need to be fully replaced, while sewer and water systems are in need of extensive repairs.
The congressional delegation cited initial estimates for public infrastructure damages and repair caused by the storm at more than $10.5 million in Howard County, $8.6 million in Baltimore County, and $3 million in Baltimore City – all of which far exceed local Public Assistance thresholds.
The Disaster Declaration would allow state and local government officials and certain private nonprofit organizations to access federal public assistance funding for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged buildings and infrastructure. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program would provide grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration in order to reduce the loss of life and property in future disasters.
See below for the full letter.
* * *
June 29, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our strong support for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s request for the declaration of a major disaster for Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City, due to strong storms, heavy rain and flash flooding between May 27 and May 28, 2018. Given the massive impact that this flooding had on state and local resources in Maryland, we respectfully request that you expeditiously approve the provision of supplementary federal assistance, pursuant to the Stafford Act.
In Howard County, historic Ellicott City experienced significant flooding for the second time in two years, and led to one tragic death. The largest impact was along Main Street, which suffered severe damage to infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, and buildings. The flooding displaced a large number of residents including business owners, and caused power outages and extensive damage to the sewer and water system.
In Baltimore County, flash flooding overwhelmed roads, storm drain infrastructure, and sewer outflows, and damaged other county infrastructure and buildings. First responders performed several water rescues of stranded motorists. Several damaged bridges will have to be fully replaced, and recreational trails will need repairs.
In Baltimore City, flash flooding in the southwest portion of the city caused significant damage to Frederick Avenue, including a slope failure. Residents confronted flooding basements, sewage backups, and power outages, and have ongoing concerns about mold remediation.
State and local officials took appropriate action under Maryland law, declaring states of emergency where appropriate. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency, in conjunction with local officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, conducted joint-preliminary damage assessments which confirmed widespread damage.
We agree that this event was of such severity and magnitude that effective recovery is beyond the capabilities of the State of Maryland and Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City alone. MEMA estimates that the damages in the affected counties will far exceed the per capita Public Assistance threshold.
The initial estimate for public infrastructure damages and repair in Howard County is more than $10.5 million, over ten times the county threshold. Baltimore County estimates damages of $8.6 million, more than three times the county threshold. Baltimore City estimates damages of $3 million, which is over the city threshold.
We therefore strongly support Governor Hogan’s request for a major disaster declaration and for supplementary federal assistance, including all categories of Public Assistance for the affected jurisdictions, in addition to statewide Hazard Mitigation assistance.
We therefore urge you to expeditiously review Governor Hogan’s request and declare a major disaster for Howard County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City. Thank you for your consideration of this request.