Maine flood cost tops $7M


PORTLAND (AP) – Towns in York County have reported public infrastructure damages of about $7 million from the recent flooding and incessant rains.

Twenty-two York County municipalities had turned in forms by Thursday morning reporting damages to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and sewers as well as extra money used to respond to flooding, Maine Emergency Management officials said.

The hardest-hit town was Wells, which reported $2.4 million in damages. York and Ogunquit each reported damages of about $1.3 million. The totals do not include damages to private property.

The damage estimate far surpasses the federal threshold of about $1.4 million to receive a disaster declaration to make the affected areas eligible for federal assistance. A disaster declaration request was in the works and the governor was expected to sign it this week, a spokesman said.

The damages are extensive, Charlie Jacobs of the Maine Emergency Management Agency said during a telephone briefing Thursday. By comparison, the flooding in Canton in December 2003 caused about $1.5 million in public damages.

“I would definitely say it’s significant,” Jacobs said.

When the federal government declares a disaster, it provides 75 percent of the funding for repairs. The state and local governments pay for the remaining 25 percent.

The damage evaluations will continue on Friday when four Federal Emergency Management Agency teams canvass York County for a formal preliminary damage assessment.

A number of roads and at least four bridges remain closed from damages caused by the storm, which dumped more than a foot of rain on parts of York County during a multiple-day stretch that ended last week. The Cape Neddick area of York got more than 15 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service posted a flood watch covering southern and western Maine for Friday and Friday night.

A cold front approaching from the west combined with a coastal storm moving up from the south was expected to bring rain to most of the region.

Gov. John Baldacci planned to meet with local, state and federal officials on Friday at the York County Community College in Wells.

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