Friday, 03 October 2008 09:32

Texas To Get Most Disaster Aid Dollars

Most of about $23 billion in disaster recovery aid in the $634B 2009 Federal budget is for Hurricane Ike. The money is divided among agencies and programs. Reportedly the spending bill also includes about 2,000 earmarks.

In Texas some large scale operations such as the mid-October South Texas State Fair in Beaumont have been canceled, since the grounds are being used as a staging area since Hurricane Ike hit Southeast Texas on Sept. 13.

Hurricane Ike forced the shutdown of Gulf Coast gasoline pipelines and oil refineries.Gasoline is still in short supply in North Texas and drivers should expect more frequent shortages in the next two weeks as the Texas Gulf Coast's refining capacity continues to come back online. They are in varying stages of restarting, which is putting the squeeze on supply in North Texas and across the Southeast. Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia were all reporting sporadic shortages this week.
Many Houston-area dealerships have reopened since Hurricane Ike but Galveston is another story. See related stories this issue of Autobody News.
Sand Dollar Auto owns all of the new-car dealerships in Galveston, which is covered with debris and lacks power and clean water. Silt covers the showroom floors in all but the Honda store. Water levels have decreased to less than an inch, but not before ruining everything that had been submerged.
One customer rolled up on a John Deere tractor saying it was the only form of transportation that he had. Sand Dollar employees had moved almost all cars inside the stores' service centers and body shop to protect them, but five interiors flooded with 3.5 to 6 feet of water. Only General Motors vehicles and 20 of 100 Toyota vehicles survived.
Sand Dollar plans to reopen its Galveston stores and all employees are safe, but six have 4 to 6 feet of water in their houses.

National Flood Insurance Program

The Senate also approved legislation to extend the National Flood Insurance Program until March 6, 2009. The bill was passed just in time; the current program expires on Sept. 30. The House and Senate had failed to agree on whether to add wind coverage to the flood program and whether to forgive NFIP's debt.
“While we would have preferred that Congress pass a long-term extension with much-needed reforms, it was vital to ensure that the NFIP would not lapse on September 30,” said David Sampson, president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.