Sen. Klobuchar: Federal flooding funds 'never quick enough' - KMSP-TV

Sen. Klobuchar: Federal flooding funds 'never quick enough'

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Flooding has taken a toll on many in the metro, and local leaders say they are in desperate need of federal funds to help with the damage. On Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she's confident help will come -- just not immediately.

After 40 years of living in Chaska, Mayor Mark Windshitl admits he's never seen flooding like this year's.

"You understand the power of water," Windshitl said. "It has amazing power when it's running."

Flood waters left extensive damage to ravines, bluffs and roads in the area -- but there may not be enough dollars in the local community to put things to rights.

"The water was so high that it came out and washed the whole side of the road out," Windshitl said. "I don't know if we have the funds to fix this road right now because it needs it all along the way. So, this could be a rod that ends up being closed."

Down the road in Norwood Young America, the damage at the wastewater treatment plant is estimated at $1.5 million alone. The water was so high, it reached the ceiling -- some 22 feet up from the basement floor. The pumps, one which pumped out 1,000 gallons a minute and the other 2,000 gallons a minute, are now destroyed.

"We literally had to shut down the plant because our electrical systems were being taken out by the water," explained City Administrator Steve Helget.

Unfortunately, insurance only covers $500,000 in damage, which means the city is a million dollars short when it comes to repairing the plant and restoring service.

"This being a smaller Minnesota community generally speaking, we don't have those types of resources to take on this kind of tragedy of this nature," Helget said.

That's why both cities, along with many others, are asking for federal assistance. In St. Paul, the Mississippi River is washing out walkways and roads. That's where Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Fox 9 News the assessment process is currently underway. In order for the state to qualify for federal help, the damage to roads, bridges and infrastructure must meet a $7.3-million threshold.

"We have faith they will move quickly on this assessment," Klobuchar said. "It's never quick enough when you have a community you can't get through on a road."

Klobuchar added that she already spoke to President Barack Obama about the need for help across the state.

"I think we were fortunate that he was able to come for 2 days, was able to see the water rushing over Minnehaha Falls," Klobuchar said. "He personally commented to me about that. I think he knows how extensive this damage is."

Yet, while he may know that Minnesotans are struggling, Windshitl said he knows help has to come from somewhere -- and soon.

"For us, it's crucial," he said. "We need that money to help fix some of the issues."

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