Flood Mitigation Efforts Prompt Hearings in State Capitol
HARRISBURG – In response to the heavy flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, a comprehensive, bipartisan legislative package aimed at bringing relief to those affected by the disaster was approved by the full Senate, according to State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23). Yaw said the disaster response and flood mitigation efforts have also been the subject of several public hearings.
Introduced collaboratively in September by Yaw and fellow Senators John Gordner, R- Berwick, Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, and John Blake, D-Archbald, the bills would combine financial assistance, infrastructure funding and tax breaks for affected areas.
“I would like to commend all of my colleagues in the Senate for their support of this legislative flood package,” Yaw said. “The devastation caused by Irene and Lee is still being felt today and will be for a very long time. These bills, if approved by the House and signed by the Governor, will go a long way to aiding in the recovery effort. But more will need to be done, including a change in policy on the state level for the dredging and cleaning of streams and permitting procedures.”
The bills include:
- Senate Bill 1264 by Senator Baker to provide for supplemental state assistance to those who have exhausted federal flood benefits and qualify under income eligibility guidelines.
- Senate Bill 1266 by Senator Gordner to authorize the borrowing of $150 million for flood-related highway, bridge and rail rehabilitation projects, as well as flood control and disaster mitigation projects.
- Senate Bill 1267 by Senator Blake to provide for real estate tax abatement for properties substantially damaged by flooding.
- Senate Bill 1268 by Senator Gordner authorizing a county-by-county list of highways damaged by the flood that require repair and rehabilitation.
- Senate Bill 1269 by Senator Yaw authorizing a county-by-county list of bridges and rail facilities damaged by the flood that require repair and rehabilitation.
- Senate Bill 1271 by Senator Yudichak authorizing a county-by-county list of flood control and disaster mitigation projects.
- Senate Bill 1297 by Senator Baker establishing a low-interest loan program for small businesses damaged by flooding.
- Senate Bill 1323 by Senator Yaw establishing a loan guarantee program to assist farmers in recovering from the natural disasters.
“Senate Bill 1269 and Senate Bill 1323, which I have sponsored, will provide financial assistance for the repair of bridges and rail facilities, as well as the creation of the Agriculture Disaster Recovery Program, to help agriculture operations that have been impacted.”
These bills now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Contact: Rita Zielonis