On Tuesday, the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee held a hearing in the Borough of Millvale (Allegheny County) to discuss Flooding & Landslides.
Pennsylvania has experienced historical amounts of rainfall in 2018, and Allegheny County has experienced 77 landslides so far this year, including $11 million in damages to U.S. Route 30, according to testimony presented to the Committee.
Senator Randy Vulakovich, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, held the hearing to highlight the damage to the roads across Allegheny County, discuss remediation efforts and costs, and review potential remedies, such as Senate Bill 1131, sponsored by Senator Jay Costa, Minority Chairman of the Committee, which would establish a Landslide Insurance and Assistance Program.
PEMA has appealed to the federal government for federal disaster funding to assist with the $22 million in costs for the storms that occurred between February and April in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties and continues to assist municipalities in mitigation efforts. PennDOT has helped address 30 of the landslides at a cost of $1.9 million. Allegheny County has established a Task Force on Landslide and Flooding, comprised of municipalities and community partners, and is getting stakeholders to work together and share information. The City of Pittsburgh, Ross Township, and the Borough of Millvale also testified on specific roads and infrastructure damaged from flooding and landslides.
“We heard from the state, the County, an urban area, suburban area, and a smaller-sized community — all of which have similar stories relating to the damage from these terrible storms,” said Sen. Vulakovich. “Funding is extremely important to address disasters such as these when they arise and I will continue to push for a dedicated Disaster Emergency Fund.”
Sen. Costa stated, “I am grateful for this hearing. While the federal and state government allocate some funds for emergencies, homeowners often do not. We need to find a way to offer protections for homeowners. My legislation – the Landslide Insurance and Assistance Program Act – would consist of a grant program, revolving loan program, and insurance program, to try to address this issue comprehensively.”
The full hearing can be viewed at www.senatorvulakovich.com