Public works crews remove debris from a flooded portion of the Hathaway Creative Center parking lot in Waterville. The parking lot was affected by the severe rain and flooding that began April 30. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

President Biden has approved Gov. Janet Mills’ request for federal assistance to help cover the costs of damages to roads, bridges and other infrastructure after severe rainfall and flooding that began on the last day of April.

The major disaster declaration unlocks funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance and hazard mitigation grant programs, according to a Friday news release from the governor’s office and Maine’s congressional delegation.

Through the public assistance program, state, local and tribal governments can apply to be reimbursed for 75% of the cost of repairing roads and bridges, removing debris, installing emergency protective measures and addressing other storm-related damage to public buildings and utilities, according to the federal agency.

The news could be particularly beneficial for Kennebec County, which logged the most flood-related damage in Maine, accounting for $580,631 of the nearly $3 million in estimated damage statewide.

Franklin, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc, Somerset and Waldo counties also exceeded the threshold of damage to qualify for a major disaster declaration, and damages in Androscoggin County, which did not meet its threshold, were included in the state’s overall total.

In addition to being able to apply for public assistance grants, communities in those counties also qualify for hazard mitigation grants, which fund projects to protect against future disaster-related damage.

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