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RALEIGH, N.C. —
Hurricane Florence left behind nearly $13 billion in damage, as much as Floyd and Matthew combined, according to Gov. Roy Cooper.
Legislators unanimously passed last week two Florence-related bills that provided $50 million in matching funds for federal disaster assistance and eased voter registration and school calendar rules in affected areas. Congress also approved an initial disaster aid bill last week that earmarks $1 billion for North Carolina.
Cooper spoke Wednesday about additional funding he hopes to see the state government put into the upcoming budget. He proposed a long-term $1.5 billion Florence recovery package that he says will ensure stronger and smarter infrastructure in North Carolina.
“Our recovery should reflect the determination and the unshakable will of North Carolinians,” Cooper said. “An unprecedented storm, requires an unprecedented response.”
Cooper said he will ask state legislators to immediately put aside a $750 million downpayment into a Hurricane Florence Recovery Fund.
.@NC_Governor: my recommendation includes a homeowner repair and restoration fund. One of the best ways to mitigate damage is to stop rebuilding in flood prone areas.
— Ana Rivera (@AnaRiveraABC11) October 10, 2018
The number one thing that must be done to make North Carolina ready for the next major storm, according to Cooper, is to provide safe and affordable homes. To accomplish that, Cooper wants to create a new homeowner repair and rehabilitation fund that he says will fill in gaps for homeowners who are not eligible for already existing storm funding.
Other major tenants of Cooper’s proposed plan include expanding the buyout plan for hog farmers in the floodplain and making Carolina roads more resilient.
(Copyright ©2018 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.)