Lawmakers begin search for flood recovery solutions

Flood Disaster Study Committee briefed on rebuilding efforts, expenses

The Flood Disaster Study Committee began the work of identifying legislative solutions to recent and future flooding in Colorado this week. The first step in this process was a series of briefings from the State of Colorado Recovery Office and other state agencies detailing the results of recovery efforts during the 55 days following Front Range flooding that began on September 11.

The bipartisan Flood Disaster Study Committee was created by the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council to review existing state policies and resources concerning flood disasters and address future flood response, prevention and mitigation across the state. The committee consists of equal numbers of Democrat and Republican Senators and Representatives, including Senators Jeanne Nicholson, D-Gilpin County, Matt Jones, D-Louisville, and John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins from the Senate Majority.

The following are highlights from the recovery presentation:

• 1,200 people are dedicated to the recovery effort from FEMA, CDOT, OEM and National Guard

• The top priorities are housing (short term and long term), opening all state roads and highways by Dec. 1, and organizing an integrated and sustainable Disaster Recovery Process for the State of Colorado

• A total of $575.2 million has been allocated to date for flood recovery, including:

• $2.6 million for public assistance to communities

• $49.8 million from FEMA for individual assistance

• $55.4 million granted in SBA loans

• $450 million from the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program to repair and build state highways

• More than $17 million collected in cash and in-kind donations

• 269,330 volunteer hours worked worth an estimated $6 million

“I am pleased with the speed and effectiveness of the state’s initial response to this widespread disaster, and am confident the legislature is ready to step in to help fill at least some of the gaps in recovery assistance,” said Nicholson. “Full recovery is a long-term proposition, but I am committed to doing everything within my authority to aid families and businesses as they rebuild.”

“With this much destruction and heartache, we need to make sure state programs work as well as they can,” said Jones. “In addition to providing oversight, I am focused on helping people to recover and hopefully come back stronger.”

Coloradans are encouraged to visit for information and resources, such as travel maps, as the recovery efforts continue.