By Ted Nesi
PBN Web Editor
WASHINGTON – The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a bill to send $149 million in aid to Rhode Island, Tennessee and other states recovering from historic floods this spring.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., got the money added to a $59 billion bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It will now move on to the full Senate. The House has not acted on the measure yet.
In addition, the bill would reduce the amount of money cities, towns and the state will have to put up to receive federal assistance by cutting the required local match to 10 percent, compared with the standard match of 25 percent.
“We have a long road to recovery and this is a good first step,” Reed said in a statement. “It is a down payment to help Rhode Island recover and will significantly reduce the burden on the state to match the federal relief aid.”
The $149 million in flood aid the bill would make available to Rhode Island and Tennessee consists of $100 million in Community Development Block Grants, plus $49 million in Economic Development Assistance grants.
The bill also includes $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund and $217 million to fund flood prevention and recovery efforts by the Army Corps of Engineers, according to Reed’s office.
That money will be spread out nationwide, but Reed’s office said Rhode Island could receive between $10 million and $15 million in federal assistance from the Army Corps to help repair damage and prevent future flooding.