President Trump declares October floods as national disaster; Public assistance now available

Connie Swinney/The Highlander
Work on the RM 2900 Bridge in Kingsland progressed the week of Feb. 18. The structure is being rebuilt after flood water destroyed the bridge in October. The roadway was the site of a press conference by local, state and federal officials in the aftermath of the flood to unveil the announcement they would be pushing for the disaster declaration.





From staff reports

On Monday, Feb. 25, President Donald Trump granted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's request for a presidential disaster declaration for 33 Texas counties, including Burnet and Llano counties.

This action provides access to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation grant programs for impacted communities that are recovering and rebuilding following severe weather and flooding this past fall, especially the Oct. 16 Highland Lakes flood.

"I thank the President and FEMA for granting this disaster declaration," said Governor Abbott. "As communities continue to recover and rebuild from the aftermath of these devastating floods, we remain committed to working with our federal and local partners to ensure that Texas is more resilient than ever before."

Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham said the current declaration is for Public Assistance only at this time, which means Texas met the $35.4 million target of damages to qualify for public assistance funding. The individual assistance requirement of having 802 uninsured and underinsured damaged or destroyed homes is still under evaluation by FEMA, Cunningham said.

We are grateful for President Trump, FEMA, Gov. Abbott’s office and TDEM (Texas Department of Emergency Management) for the all they have done in working with Llano County,” Cunningham said.

Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan said Cunningham “called to advise me of the announcement. This is good news, however, as noted, this action provides access to FEMA grant programs for public assistance for impacted communities.”

Congressman Roger Williams, R-Austin, released a statement thanking the president for taking action on the disaster declaration.

“Four months ago, massive flooding wreaked havoc on the Central Texas community. In addition to visiting disaster sites, such as the FM 2900 bridge that collapsed, I urged President Trump to quickly fulfill Gov.Greg Abbott’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas,” Williams said.

“I am happy to report that earlier today, the President approved this request and initiated the release of federal funds that will go towards families, businesses and infrastructure affected by the flooding. I am proud of the leadership and engagement that local and state officials exhibited throughout this process, and I look forward to rebuilding together.”

Find this story and more in the Friday, March 1 issue of The Highlander, the newspaper of record for the Highland Lakes. To offer a comment or send a news tip, email

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