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Tomblin Signs Flood Relief

September 20th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today signed legislation, House Bill 201, that he presented to the Legislature earlier this week in a special session to appropriate funds to cover West Virginia's share of costs associated with the June 2016 flooding. Gov. Tomblin signed the bill during a ceremony at Elkview Middle School, where students from Herbert Hoover High School are temporarily taking classes.

"Nearly three months ago, our state was hit by historic and destructive flooding. Twenty-three people lost their lives. Homes, businesses and communities were devastated. Schools were destroyed. But today, we celebrate new hope for a brighter future," Gov. Tomblin said. "This legislation, which I presented just days ago, represents continued progress – and I am grateful for the Legislature's quick approval. Recovering from this tragedy will take all of us coming together. But as we are seeing again today, that's what we do best in West Virginia."

Through Gov. Tomblin's bill, $85 million – $55 million of which comes from the Rainy Day Fund – is now available to cover the state's share of costs for individual and public damages, as well as long-term recovery efforts. This includes the state's estimated match of $130 million to rebuild five schools – Herbert Hoover High School, Clendenin Elementary School, Richwood High School, Richwood Middle School and Summersville Middle School.

The funding approved this week represents West Virginia's 25 percent share of flood-related costs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently covering 75 percent of total costs. Should the state meet FEMA's designated threshold of $253 million in total expenses, the federal government could cover 90 percent, leaving the state responsible for 10 percent. If Gov. Tomblin's request to the White House for this higher level of cost-sharing is approved, it would kick in once funds are obligated, including funds for school construction. 

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