Portsmouth, Mass. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said today it would reimburse the Massachusetts Highway Department for snow removal costs from the record snowstorm of last December. The funds were made available through FEMA's Public Assistance program and administered by the Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts Highway Department will receive $9 million for snow removal costs incurred on state highways from the December 6-7 storm. The federal payment represents 75 percent of eligible costs. The remaining 25 percent corresponds to the non-federal share. The Massachusetts Highway Department is divided into 5 districts. Each district submitted several applications representing smaller areas within the district. The total district reimbursements are: District 1 - $307,000, District 2 - $730,000, District 3 - $1.97 million, District 4 - $3.63 million and District 5 - $2.4 million.
"Although the snow has long melted, the reimbursements will help the Commonwealth recover financially from the storm," said James N. Russo, Federal Coordinating Officer for the snow emergency. "To date, we have reimbursed communities throughout Massachusetts $34.2 million for snow removal costs from the December storm."
At the Commonwealth's request for federal assistance, President Bush authorized federal disaster funds be made available to supplement state and local response efforts in communities in 12 Massachusetts counties. The designated counties are Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester.
"The Massachusetts Highway Department budgets for normal winters, but when you get a heavy storm like the record storm of early December, the budget gets depleted quickly," said Cristine McCombs, Director of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.