MONTEREY COUNTY — Additional disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been approved for Monterey County to make permanent repairs to county roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

On Jan. 17, President Joe Biden amended his Major Disaster Declaration for the state of California to include Monterey County. That designation allowed FEMA support for debris removal, emergency protective measures and individual assistance, covered under the assistance categories A and B.

Monterey County and local lawmakers then requested additional assistance under categories C through G to cover permanent repairs to roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings and equipment, utilities and parks and recreation, which was approved on Jan. 26.

“The severe winter storms have caused significant, widespread destruction to our public infrastructure throughout Monterey County,” said U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta. “The approval of this additional federal assistance is critical to not only repairing this significant damage but rebuilding to better withstand future severe weather events. I thank the Biden Administration for their swift approval of our request and continued presence in our communities as we work to recover and return to normalcy.”

With this funding, Monterey County can complete permanent work to restore critical infrastructure to its pre-disaster design. The amendment also allows the county to receive reimbursement for necessary repairs to public infrastructure that are not considered an emergency protective measure, such as the road failure in Carmel at Scenic Drive.

Monterey County currently estimates at least $40 million in damages to public infrastructure, including $20 million that will require permanent repairs.

The county’s preliminary repair cost estimates for several specific public infrastructure assets include: an estimated $3.5 million for stabilization of the Nacimiento Plunge Pool Slope; $3 million to repair the Scenic Road slip out; $2.5 million for Nacimiento Reservoir repairs; $1.5 million Salinas River Lagoon Levee access road repairs; and $1 million each for repairs for Hartnell Road and the Nacimiento Hydro-plant access road. 

“The team at the County of Monterey’s Department of Emergency Management have been working tirelessly to get access to as much federal resources as possible to help our residents and stakeholders get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible,” said Tracy Molfino, interim department manager. He continued, “This has been a heroic team effort and I am proud of the work our county employees are doing to help the community recover from this current disaster.” 

According to Molfino, FEMA’s latest action will also benefit other entities within the county.

Municipal jurisdictions, special districts and nonprofits within Monterey County should contact the Recovery Branch in the Monterey County Emergency Operations Center if they have sustained any damages, debris or emergency work related to the 2022-23 Winter Storms.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 831-796-1900.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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