President Joe Biden issued a federal disaster declaration on Tuesday for heavy rain and flood damage that occurred on June 29. Here a large pipe is exposed June 30 on Soules Hill Road in Jay after the road was heavily damaged in the storm. The cost to fix Jay’s roads, sewer lines and provide temporary access over is estimated to cost nearly $7.9 million, town officials say. Town of Jay photo

JAY — President Joe Biden issued a federal disaster declaration Tuesday for infrastructure damages in Franklin County during severe rain and flash flooding on June 29.

The storm caused millions in infrastructure damage in the county with the bulk of it, nearly $4 million, in Jay. Some roads in Jay are still not passable. The storm also wiped out a section of the state-owned Whistle Stop Trail in Jay, which is estimated to cost $860,000 to repair.

The county’s estimated damage and the state infrastructure’s damage, not including state roads, is about $4.6 million.

Chesterville reported $19,094.79 in preliminary damage and Wilton reported $9,000, Sara Bickford, deputy director of Franklin County Emergency Agency, said previously.

In addition, there was also an estimated $1.8 million in damage not factored into the preliminary estimates for the county that was done to state roads in Franklin County, a state spokesman previously said.

The Whistle Stop Trail, a multi-use trail, is closed for the year from Steve’s Family Market in Wilton to Jay Plaza. The other ends from Wilton to Farmington and from Jay Plaza to Livermore Falls remain open to trail travel.


In Jay alone, to restore its damaged roads and 1,300 feet of sewer lines, the total cost is about $7.9 million to repair and gain temporary access to the roads during the fall and winter months, according to town officials.

The affected towns are responsible for about 10% of the cost. It includes donations and in-kind work already done. The federal government’s share is 75% and the state’s share is 15%.

A section of state Route 133 in Jay has also been closed since June 29.

“There are two large sections left to pave. It could be a couple more weeks depending on if the weather cooperates. It seems like we are heading into a dry spell, so that is good for outdoor construction,” Paul Merrill, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation, wrote in an email on Aug. 31.

President Joe Biden issued a federal disaster declaration on Tuesday for heavy rain and flood damage that occurred on June 29. Flooding caused major damage to yards and roads across Franklin County, including in this area at Look Brook Circle in Jay. The cost to fix Jay’s roads, sewer lines and provide temporary access is estimated to cost nearly $7.9 million, town officials say. Photo by D.J. Campbell

Gov. Janet Mills and Maine’s congressional delegation, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, applauded Biden’s approval of the disaster declaration Tuesday, according to a joint news statement sent out by the representatives of the state and federal government.

Mills requested the president issue a Major Disaster Declaration last month for storms that brought heavy rainfall and flooding on June 29 in Franklin County and June 26 in Oxford County that resulted in public infrastructure damage beyond the state’s capability to address, according to the release.


The Major Disaster Declaration for the June 26 storm in Oxford County is still pending.

“We are grateful that President Biden has approved Maine’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration,” said Mills and Maine’s Congressional delegation in the joint statement. “This declaration will make available critical Federal funding that Maine will use to complete costly infrastructure repairs following the severe rain and flooding in Franklin County.”

President Biden’s approval of the Major Disaster Declaration unlocks federal assistance through the Public Assistance Program. The Public Assistance Program provides supplemental grants to state, local and tribal governments so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies, according to the release.

The declaration also opens up federal funding through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the entire state of Maine. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding to state, local and tribal and governments so they can develop hazard mitigation plans and rebuild in a way that reduces, or mitigates, future disaster losses in their communities.

On July 10, Maine formally requested a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment for public assistance for Franklin County from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. On-site assessments validated $6.5 million in infrastructure damage, including local and state. On July 18, Maine formally requested a damage assessment for Oxford County, which validated $2.6 million in infrastructure damage.

Now that the declaration is issued, the federal agency will work with the towns on what they actually have for damages and to verify all the projects to move forward with each town, Amanda Simoneau, director of Franklin County EMA, said Wednesday.

Preliminary estimates were collected for consideration of a federal declaration of disaster to get money for repairs. Otherwise, towns and the state would have had to pay for the repairs.

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