Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday announced a $45 million state relief package Wednesday to help local governments recover from tornadoes that ravaged central and southern Illinois last November.
His announcement coincided with planned stops in Washington, Brookport and Belleville and follow the Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial of a request for federal disaster assistance.
"Our tornado-ravaged communities need help and they need it now," Quinn said in a written statement. "While it’s disappointing our request for federal disaster relief was denied due to outdated rules, the state of Illinois is committed to providing assistance to communities that need it."
The funds will primarily be aimed at recovery efforts in hard-hit municipalities like Washington, Brookport, Gifford, New Minden, Diamond, Coal City and East Peoria. All local governments in Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermillion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford counties will be eligible for assistance, his office announced in a release.
The relief package will make funds available from multiple state agencies, including:
- Up to $19.1 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
- Up to $10 million from the Illinois Department of Transportation to repair storm-damaged infrastructure.
- Up to $4.5 million in below-market rate loans from the Illinois Finance Authority to finance repairs to publically owned and operated facilities.
- Up to $3.55 million from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to help pay for costs already incurred for debris removal, emergency protective measures and overtime payments.
- Up to $2.5 million from the Illinois Housing Development Authority to assist with rehabilitation of low-income households.
- Up to $5.35 million in low-interest loans from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to repair damaged water systems.
About two dozens tornadoes hit Illinois Nov. 17. More than half a dozen people died and thousands of homes were damaged and destroyed.
Federal aid was given to people and businesses affected by those tornadoes, but FEMA denied the state's request for assistance to local governments, which Quinn says have incurred $6.1 million in storm-related expenses.