WMass left out of Baker’s federal snow assistance plan

Record-breaking snowfall also contributed to 25 deaths

BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker is calling on President Barack Obama for federal assistance following a winter that paralyzed many parts of the state. Most Massachusetts counties would qualify for federal tax dollars except for: Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties. 22News State House Reporter Tiffany Chan asked the Governor for an explanation.

He said “the federal government has very specific criteria associated with being able to apply for and receive disaster assistance.”

He added that in order to qualify, a county must meet or exceed record snowfall totals. Although western Massachusetts saw quite a bit of snow this winter, it was not enough to meet the requirements set by the federal government. The Governor’s letter to the President also states that record-breaking snowfall contributed to twenty-five deaths between January 26th and February 22nd.

“We had a number of people who died after being hit by snow plows or by other vehicles on snow covered roads,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Kurt Schwartz.

State Department of Public Health records show an additional 1,500 people suffered storm-related injuries within those 28 days. Governor Baker expects find out whether the state will qualify for federal assistance within the next three weeks.

 

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