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Local News

July 3, 2013

Schumer asks feds for disaster relief aid

Otsego, Delaware and Chenango counties are among New York counties that could receive millions of dollars from the federal government if Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is successful in convincing President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide relief to flood-battered counties.

Otsego County has been forced to close County Highway 31 indefinitely as the result of a mudslide Friday that tore a gaping hole in the roadway and sent it tumbling down a steep bank just south of Pathfinder Lodge.

Otsego County Highway Supt. Ron Tiderencel estimated that one road repair job alone will cost about $500,000.

“We’d like to get that fixed as soon as possible,” said Tiderencel.

Schumer said the severe weather in recent days left 15 upstate counties severely impacted.

Flooding problems continued in the Norwich and Sherburne areas Tuesday. Much of the Chenango County Fairgrounds was reported to be flooded. Meanwhile, a stretch of State Route 80 north of U.S. Route 20 remained closed, pushing more traffic onto other roads, including Route 20, officials said.

The officials said they were concerned what the Route 80 closure, the Highway 31 shutdown and other flooding problems might portend for July 4 holiday traffic heading to a region known as a tourism destination.

“Upstate New York has been hammered with severe flooding and dangerous debris after days of heavy rainfall, and the Mohawk Valley, foothills of the Adirondacks, and portions of the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley have borne the brunt of the damage,” Schumer said. “It is critical that we get federal resources on the ground as soon as possible, so that they can rebuild after this severe weather.”

Schumer said a federal declaration that the upstate counties are eligible for the federal aid “is necessary because it will give reassurance to our communities that the federal government will be there to help respond and recover.” He said he was hoping Obama and FEMA will make the declaration “as quickly as possible.”

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