WASHINGTON, D.C, (NEXSTAR) — The Department of Transportation is giving almost one billion dollars back to states, reimbursing them for cleanup after natural disasters or other calamities.
DOT said it’s keeping a promise made to states during desperate times, but some of the money is going toward disasters that happened almost 20 years ago.
Thirty-nine states and territories are getting almost $1 billion to refill their coffers after cleaning up from a disaster.
“It’s $871 million of emergency relief money that states and communities need for cleanup after storms,” said Nicole Nason, administrator of the Federal Highway Administration.
Nason said the money reimburses communities that used their own funds for disaster cleanup.
“States need to clean up instantly, and we make a commitment at the federal government that we will make them whole,” she said.
But when you take a look at the breakdown, some of the projects the money is going toward happened years ago.
For example, Alaska is getting $1.5 million from flooding in 2012.
Wisconsin gets more than $10 million for flooding in 2016.
Even New York makes the list, getting almost $5 million for clean-up from the 9/11 attacks, one day shy of the 18th anniversary.
So, why the delay?
“Sometimes the money comes in pieces, so we may be able to reimburse for sections of cleanup or pieces of cleanup,” Nason said.
Nason said it comes down to when Congress approves the money, which then gets paid back to the states.
“But what we want to do is make sure that even if it takes time, we are able to fund states and localities for anything that they have spent, that we have committed to reimbursing them,” she said.
DOT said the states slated to get reimbursement funds should see the money soon, if they haven’t already.