Approval of major disaster declaration welcome news

North Dakota local government entities faced with roads and other infrastructure damaged in the early October 2019 storm that dumped heavy rain and snow are getting some critical relief from the federal government.

This past week President Trump approved North Dakota’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration.

The current declaration allows public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known by its acronym FEMA, to help cities, counties and townships pay for costs incurred for repairing roads and other infrastructure damaged in the October snowstorm and flooding from rain.

Preliminary estimates report that storm caused $9.7 million in damage to public infrastructure.

Sixteen counties in North Dakota are covered in the recent declaration including several in the local area – Barnes, Eddy, Foster, Grand Forks, Griggs, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, Mountrail, Nelson, Sargent, Sheridan, Stutsman, Traill, Walsh and Wells.

The U.S. Department of Transportation already has announced the award of $4.3 million as reimbursement for emergency and permanent road repairs in 11 of those counties under the disaster declaration.

Cities, counties and townships along with farmers and ranchers have endured a tough time this past year with the period from August to October as one of the wettest in North Dakota in 125 years of recordkeeping. This followed the spring flooding and a severe summer drought.

These entities welcome the federal help during these critical times.