Members Of Congress Tour Duluth: Request FEMA Funding

By KBJR News 1

July 2, 2012 Updated Jul 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Minnesota lawmakers were on the ground assessing flood damage in Duluth Friday. They met with city and county officials to discuss recovery efforts.

LeAnn Wallace reports.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Congressman Chip Cravaack spent the day talking with city and county leaders.

They also met with residents who are in the midst of cleaning up after the devastating floods.

The idea is to secure federal FEMA dollars to assist in the rebuilding of roads, buildings, and infrastructure.

In order for a state to qualify for FEMA money, there has to be at least $8 million dollars worth of damages. FEMA is expected to be in Duluth early next week.

"And we'll be making a preliminary damage assessment. There's no question that assessment will exceed the number that qualifies for federal assistance," said Sen. Al Franken - (D) Minnesota.

"First off let's concentrate on public safety, let's make sure everybody's safe. Let's make sure everybody gets back into their homes. Let's make sure everybody has sanitation and sewer and safe roads to drive on," said Rep. Chip Cravaack - (R) MN's 8th District.

"Northern Minnesota is incredibly resilient and whether the streets are broken or buildings are lost, the spirit of Northern Minnesota is never broke and I think you see that every street corner you turn where people already want to volunteer and fix trails and get things done," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar - (D) - Minnesota.

City crews have already been making emergency fixes to roads and culverts.

Once the damages are deemed an emergency disaster area by FEMA, federal dollars will be coming in.

When that happens, the area qualifies for up to 75% of the damages to be paid for.

The federal government can also reimburse the city and county for emergency fixes already made.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness has added that the community outreach has been incredible. People still want to help out, there's a link to sign up on the city's website.

FEMA is expected to be in the Northland on Tuesday.