Federal official tours shoreline damage - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Federal official tours shoreline damage

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Members of the federal Hurricane Sandy Task Force toured parts of the Connecticut coastline to get a better look at what the people in the region are suffering from.

Task force director Laurel Blatchford New Haven, Bridgeport and Stamford with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Jim Himes and local elected officials.

New Haven school officials toured the hard-hit coastal neighborhood Friday with congressional leaders and a member of the federal task force put together by the president to help connect people, businesses and municipalities with recovery money.

New Haven paid close to $1 million just to get one of its schools back open.

"The water came up over both of these buildings were taken out," said Mike Schoen of New Haven. "The first floor of that building was submerged."

So far, more than 12,000 Connecticut residents have applied for federal help.

The state has received a total of $367 million in federal funds. the governor's office said $280 million has gone to people, businesses and towns.

At Friday's roundtable discussion, the theme was we need more money and it needs to get to people faster.

Eyewitness News asked why some people are still waiting for financial help to afford their repairs.

"The simple answer to your question is the federal government can and must do more," Blumenthal said. "And it's not just saying 'no,' it's saying simple 'show us.'"

Blatchford said the main issue was congress didn't approve the money until months after the storm.

In contrast, when Katrina hit in New Orleans, the money was approved within weeks. The goal now is to make sure the money starts helping.

"What I want to do is make sure Connecticut has access to what else is happening in region," Blatchford said.

Hurricane Sandy Task Force official said Connecticut will be seeing a lot more federal money. The next big chunk is being earmarked for projects that can better protect the coastline.

City and town leaders Friday were also asking for the process to get federal help to be less complicated. Because right now, the red tape makes the request for help just as much of a burden as the damage.

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