State will continue to utilize FHWA and U.S. Small Business Administration resources
The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM), in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completed an analysis of pursuing a Stafford Act Major Disaster declaration for the Glenwood Springs and Larimer mud/rock/debris slides last week. The team recommended the state continue with the support of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for both the road repairs and the debris removal. Colorado anticipates receiving more than $7.5M in federal assistance for debris removal through the FHWA. It is in the best interest of the state not to pursue a Stafford Act declaration for the following reasons:
- Because of the current FHWA funding in Glenwood Canyon, FEMA disqualified most (if not all) of the work on the Glenwood Canyon recovery for road repairs. FHWA is providing 90-100% funding for debris removal from the roadway compared to FEMA’s 75%.
- After working closely with CDOT and FHWA, both demonstrated that the current FHWA strategy will adequately provide the necessary funding and will resolve the situation in the most expedient manner. A Stafford Act declaration would require FEMA to activate FEMA teams already engaged in disasters in other parts of the country before some work can commence. This will further delay the immediate action needed for the Colorado River and extend a full opening I-70 because debris removal requires periodic lane closures.
- A Stafford Act Major Disaster declaration would require the State to return FHWA funding for debris removal on the roadway and forgo future FHWA assistance for debris removal in the river. Once a Stafford Act Major Disaster declaration is awarded, the state cannot go back to the FHWA, because it would then be considered a duplication of benefits. Again, FHWA provides 90-100% federal funding compared to FEMA’s 75% federal funding for the same work.
- In addition, FEMA removes less debris than FHWA as FEMA limits debris removal to that which poses an immediate and imminent threat to public safety.
- As for Larimer County, DHSEM has worked closely with Larimer County to successfully obtain federal funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection program. In addition, DNR provided direct support to the County and additional funding through SB240.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration is supporting the community with disaster funding through their Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.