September 23, 2008

Ike’s Cost to Galveston at Least $2.2B

Officials from Galveston, Texas, entities say they will ask for $2.2 billion in federal disaster aid to repair the island port battered by Hurricane Ike.

Galveston officials also said residents on the Galveston Island's West End would be allowed to return to their homes to assess damage but would then have to leave, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Officials cautioned residents returning starting Wednesday that water and sewer systems aren't fully operational, there is no potable water and only a few neighborhoods have power.

"We are sending a very serious message to our public that you need to hear, loud and clear, of the risk you're going to face when you return to the island," City Manager Steve LeBlanc said Monday.

LeBlanc said the city will seek $1.1 billion when city officials meet with a U.S. Senate subcommittee, The New York Times reported. The funds are to rebuild the city's infrastructure, build housing, restore beaches and give grants to small-business owners.

At the same time, the University of Texas Medical Branch will ask for $609 million to repair the complex's hospitals, medical school and research centers, said Ben Raimer, a school vice president. The Port of Galveston also will ask for $500 million for repairs.


Image Caption: Galveston Island near Bolivar Point 2008-09-13: some houses were damaged by flying debris or rammed by objects in waves.