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Kathy Castor wants increased federal disaster aid for Florida after Irma

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Democratic Representative Kathy Castor is pressing for an increase in federal disaster aid to the highest share possible to help Floridians recover rapidly from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.

“I intend to be a proactive partner to our local Tampa and Hillsborough County communities to speed recovery,” Castor said in a statement Tuesday. “I will press electric utilities to restore power and ensure that our local partners have the resources to speed debris removal in the short term and fight for all disaster aid in the long term.

“That is why I have joined with others in the Florida congressional delegation to call for an increase in the federal share of public assistance, swift reimbursement for local partners and prompt review and approval of individual requests for assistance.”

Citing the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Assistance Act which says catastrophic storms like Hurricanes Irma warrant a higher federal cost share to cover clean up and recovery efforts, Castor says she supports an increase to 100 percent federal cost for Public Assistance Category A, which is currently funded at a 75 percent federal cost share.

 “As our neighbors return to their homes and survey the damage we will begin to understand the severity of damage inflicted upon homes, businesses and schools,” the Tampa Democrat said. “The increased federal cost share will be critical to hiring local contractors and bolstering local government debris removal.”

Castor met with Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill and the local FEMA representative in Tampa Tuesday. She says individuals who suffered storm damage should consult FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program at and download the FEMA app to begin working on getting assistance.

President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for the state of Florida Sunday, triggering the release of federal funds to help Floridians recover from the hurricane. Hillsborough, Pinellas, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Lee, Manatee, Palm Beach, Putnam, Sarasota and St. Johns counties are all listed as Individual Assistance (IA) counties, where direct assistance can be sent to individuals and households.

FEMA released a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as “needed and warranted” under Trump’s disaster declaration Sunday for Florida.

Moody’s Analytics has estimated that the total cost for recovery for Irma is between $64 and $92 billion.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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