Gov. Dayton, Lawmakers quickly enact flood aid
State aid to rebuild washed-out roads, repair flooded basements and restore storm-ravaged state parks is on its way to northeastern Minnesota and other parts of the state after the Legislature approved and Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $167.5 million relief package Friday.
Dayton signed the bill into law hours after it cleared the Senate 60-7 and the House on a 125-3 vote in a short special session, dipping into rainy-day reserves and borrowing money to cover the cost.
"This help to Minnesotans, who have suffered terrible misfortunes, is a shining example of the spirit which makes our state so very special," Dayton said in a statement.
Flash floods that started June 19 wiped out entire roads and killed zoo animals in Duluth and destroyed an iconic swinging bridge in nearby Jay Cooke State Park. The water then rushed downstream, prompting evacuations in other communities including Moose Lake and Thomson. Days earlier, floods hit the central and southeastern part of the state, damaging infrastructure and sending homeowners in search of sump pumps. And in early July, a windstorm blew down trees and power lines in northern Minnesota.
The state package provides matching money for federal disaster aid after President Obama declared 15 counties and three tribal governments to be disaster areas. It will also pay to help fix park buildings and infrastructure, shore up school and local government budgets in flood areas and replant pine forests.
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