Metro-East News

Rauner formally asks for federal flood assistance

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday asked President Barack Obama to approve federal assistance to help people, businesses and local governments in several Illinois counties affected by flooding in late December and early January.

Rauner requested federal assistance for people, businesses and local governments in 21 counties including St. Clair, Madison and Monroe counties.

“The information gathered during the recent damage assessments illustrates the difficult road people and communities face as they try to recover from the record and near-record flooding we experienced in December,” Rauner said. “Without federal assistance a full recovery may not occur.”

Disaster related expenses and damages from local governments totaled more than $15 million.

While the state didn’t meet FEMA’s population-based threshold of $18.1 million, the state said several other factors should be considered when Illinois’ request is reviewed.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency said there were some areas hit by the December storms and floods also were affected by severe storms and flooding last summer.

“Now to go all over again and shoulder the expense is going to be difficult if not impossible for some of these counties,” said Patti Thompson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

In the past, the state has heard back from the federal government within a few weeks to a month.

If the state’s request for individual assistance is approved, people in the approved counties would be eligible to apply for grants and low-interest loans.

If the request for public assistance is approved, local governments in the approved counties would be eligible to apply for up to 75 percent reimbursement of their eligible disaster-related expenses.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter