Today, the federal delegation representing Snohomish County applauded two federal agencies for providing emergency assistance to Washington state in the wake of Saturday's massive mudslide in Snohomish County.
Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for announcing that it will issue a limited emergency declaration for direct federal assistance. The delegation also applauded a decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to provide $1 million in Emergency Relief funds to support emergency transportation needs in Snohomish County.
"We appreciate the rapid response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Highway Administration to the ongoing tragedy in Oso," the four delegation members said. "All Washingtonians' thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this natural disaster. These declarations mean that the federal government can expedite resources to support rescue and recovery efforts in Snohomish County. Together, we will continue to work closely with Governor Inslee, County Executive Lovick and other state and local officials to ensure federal agencies offer whatever assistance is available to help Snohomish County recover from this devastating mudslide."
Debris from Saturday's mudslide, estimated at one-square mile in scope, blocked State Route 530 between Arlington and Darrington, wiped out dozens of homes, and sealed off the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The Washington State Department of Transportation is still concerned about flash flooding and damage to bridges downstream.
The USDOT Emergency Relief program provides emergency funding for highway repair after natural disasters or catastrophic failures from an external cause. The Federal Highway Administration will provide additional funds as permanent repairs are identified and cost estimates are completed.
The Emergency Relief program was reauthorized in the last transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, which passed Congress in June 2012 and was signed by President Obama in July 2012. It is the same program used to pay for repairs of the I-5 Skagit River Bridge when it collapsed in May 2013.
States are required to request funding and make a formal declaration of emergency in order to receive the money. On March 22, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a State of Emergency for Snohomish County.