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Thursday, July 7, 2022

West Virginia Legislature Blog

Interim Report: Committee on Flooding

Jennifer Ferrell, Director of Community Advancement for the state Economic Development Office, spoke to the Joint Committee on Flooding during interim meetings at the Capitol Sunday afternoon.

She informed the committee that West Virginia hopes to finish construction on 20 remaining homes through the RISE West Virginia program by early this fall. This comes nearly six years after nearly 400 homes were destroyed by devastating flooding. So far, 367 homes and 46 bridge projects have been completed according to Ferrell, with eight bridge projects remaining.

West Virginia was awarded $149 million in Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Relief by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The state made its request to start using the money on Jan. 29, 2018, with approval granted on Feb. 20, 2018.

Ferrell informed the committee that the state has spent $90.7 million of the funds made available through HUD.

In a wider sense, committee chairman, Senator Chandler Swope (R-Mercer, 06) urged committee members to support calling on the Legislature to add flood mitigation to the list of subject matter it develops legislation for, now that federal funds are available for potential projects.

West Virginia received the second payment in May of $1.35 billion in direct state funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The funds can be used for coronavirus-related expenses, as well as for specific infrastructure projects, such as broadband, stormwater and watershed infrastructure projects, including flood mitigation.

Bob Martin, director of the State Resiliency Office, also spoke to the committee on Sunday. He, along with Swope and state and local emergency management officials, took part in a two-day flood symposium last month.

The goal of the symposium was to review and update West Virginia’s flood protection plan, an 11-page document first completed in 2004. Martin told the committee the review should be completed by the end of the year.

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