PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- President Obama has granted Rhode Island's request for a federal disaster declaration for several counties in the state.
The President signed the declaration Saturday for Washington, Bristol and Newport counties. The state's congressional delegation had written the President last week to request an expedited response to any disaster declaration requests, which Governor Chafee signed Friday.
With the signing of the federal disaster declaration, FEMA assistance is now available to the repairs of public infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
FEMA teams were in Rhode Island late this week reviewing the damage that was inflicted and have determined that at least $5.5 million in damage to public buildings and roads was done in those three countiese. Their assessments continue around the state.
The US Department of Transportation has already authorized $3.3 million for temporary road repairs.
Governor Chafee could also pursue an expanded disaster declaration that would allow Individual Assistance to Rhode Islanders; that could include grants from the federal government for home repairs, low-cost loans to cover property losses, or several other programs to aid recovery efforts.