Thursday, August 19, 2004
From the Lakeland, FL, Ledger , courtesy of Suburban Guerrilla:
Federal aid to hurricane-stricken Florida could mount to hundreds of millions of dollars, but Florida also could be the biggest loser yet from an effort by the Bush administration to redirect post-disaster spending.
President Bush tried to kill the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides an extra percentage of federal disaster aid to states and communities so they can prepare for future catastrophes. The result of that effort was that Congress in 2003 halved those grants from a maximum of 15 percent of disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to 7.5 percent.
The difference means Florida could lose big. Although it's too early to say how much, it easily could be tens of millions of dollars.
"That is hundreds, if not thousands, of mitigation projects that could have been undertaken to get people out of harm's way and prepare for the next hurricane, so that has really not saved money for the federal government," said Trina Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association.