State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) is again urging Republican leaders in Lansing to take up House Bill 5458, which Dianda introduced in April, to provide much-needed financial assistance to Upper Peninsula communities still struggling with the frozen water lines crisis. Due to the extreme cold weather this winter and into the spring, local municipalities have been forced to cover numerous unforeseen expenses stemming from the deep frost. Dianda’s bill would designate $10 million in grants to communities in counties that have issued local states of emergency, which would nearly cover the $10.1 million in estimated damages to the region’s infrastructure.

“Our local communities here in the U.P. have gone above and beyond the call of duty to get damaged infrastructure in working order for their residents,” said Dianda. “But there is still a long way to go, and a lot of debt has already been incurred by these municipalities. We need to take a step further than simply declaring a state of emergency, and send some money up to these struggling areas.”

The Michigan State Police has been working with U.P. governments to identify qualified expenses that could count toward the $13.7 million threshold to qualify for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). After coming up with only $10.1 million in qualified damage expenses, FEMA denied a presidential disaster declaration.

“I know how much work our local municipalities have put into ensuring their residents are safe and healthy following this disastrous winter,” said Dianda. “I urge the Republican leadership in Lansing to take this matter seriously, and take my bill up for consideration. The truth is that the U.P. is in a state of emergency, the governor already declared that, now we need to designate the funds to help them.”