WASHINGTON — Maryland’s congressional delegation is encouraging President Barack Obama to loosen the purse strings on federal funding to cover the toll December’s record-breaking snowstorm took on public resources.
The state’s senators and congressmen signed a letter to Obama Wednesday in support of the disaster declaration made Jan. 14 by Gov. Martin O’Malley to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
O’Malley estimated the total cost of the snowstorm at more than $19 million, a huge blow on a state that is already strapped for cash.
With their letter of support, the senators and congressmen hope to expedite the multi-step FEMA process and get relief to the state quickly so that the state is ready for the next one.
“I strongly support this federal funding to ensure that Maryland has the resources it needs to recover from this storm and prepare for the next one,” Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-2nd, said in a statement.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency began assessing the damage and impact of the storm on the state Dec. 21 as part of the emergency response process, the letter stated.
MEMA concluded that there was an “unprecedented” use of public resources to ensure the safety of the public, along with damage to emergency vehicles and state buildings, and depletion of road treatment chemicals.
The state received 18 to 20 inches of snow in the pre-Christmas storm. In some areas of the state, people were snowbound for several days.
“Maryland did a magnificent job and while people in Minnesota or Maine or Montana might not understand, the December 18-20, 2009 storm in Maryland was a 40-year storm that clearly overwhelmed any reasonable expectation of Maryland’s capabilities,” said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican, in a release.