DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Three months and counting.
That’s the amount of time that has passed since the EF-3 tornado made its destructive path through Dallas and Richardson Oct. 20.
Despite all of the damages to public infrastructure, the Dallas area still does not qualify for the FEMA threshold to receive a 75% reimbursement from FEMA.
And the delay could go on, despite a meeting between Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and FEMA’s Administrator in Washington Thursday, and letters to the Trump administration from Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
So what’s behind the delay? In order to meet FEMA’s threshold, the area has to have about $38.5 million dollars in uninsured losses to public infrastructure.
So far, the Dallas area is $6 million dollars short.
Dallas area leaders are now hoping this area will qualify for FEMA’s disaster aid because of the uninsured losses sustained by Dallas ISD for its damaged schools that were in the tornado’s path.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Thursday that FEMA wants to find out from the school district’s insurance company how much money it will pay for the affected schools.
But according to Jenkins, the insurance company isn’t ready to say what the exact amount of money is.
Though, Jenkins said the losses will put this area way over the FEMA threshold.
“It seems obvious to me and others that the amount they will pay will be tens of millions of dollars less than the cost of these schools back up to a place where we can actually open a door and have kids educated there,” he said. “FEMA is saying we want to see a document from the insurance company. The insurance company says it will be months before we give you a final document.”
Jenkins said it shouldn’t take that much time to resolve.
He said local, state and federal officials may hold a phone conference to discuss the matter Friday.
Another reason for the delay is that FEMA isn’t counting $18.5 million dollars in losses to destroyed and damaged traffic signals in the city of Dallas.
The city’s Director of Emergency Management, Rocky Vaz, said Thursday the city found out after Christmas that the traffic signals aren’t being counted by FEMA because the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has grants that reimburse cities for such losses.
So Vaz said the city is in the process of applying for those grants.
But even if the city does get money from the FHA, Vaz said the city will have to pay to repair and replace the traffic signals before it can get reimbursed for 80% of the losses.