Local leaders share their thoughts on the passage of a new disaster aid bill

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Now that the $19 billion disaster relief bill passed in Congress, what comes next for Bay County once the president signs it?

Now that a new disaster relief bill has passed in Congress, local leaders are sharing their reactions to the long-awaited legislation. (WJHG/WECP)

During his speech Monday on the House floor, Congressman Neal Dunn said, "Month after month one political excuse or another has been used to delay the emergency disaster supplemental."

Then finally, 236 days after Hurricane Michael, the bill was passed.

Senator Rick Scott said, "The most important thing to me, of course, is every family gets back to normal life as quickly as possible, the businesses get back to hiring people, the tourists get back to coming down here because a lot of the economy in the Panhandle is tied to tourism. We also have to continue to support our military."

So how will this new legislation affect your wallet?

Bay County Commissioner, Robert Carroll, said, "It's not allocated for individual insurance, no claims, there's not individual checks written to families. But what it does is improves the infrastructure, everything in Bay County, it relieves us of the debt so that we're not having to potentially raise taxes."

The $19 billion aid bill will go toward things like cleanup, infrastructure, the timber industry, and Tyndall Air Force Base.

"So I think that maybe the first and most important thing is that it jump-starts the rebuild on Tyndall Air Force [Base]," said Dunn.

Colonel Brent Hyden, Director of the Program Management Office for Tyndall Rebuild, said, "And what this military construction funding allows us to do is start the design, the hardcore major design for all of that rebuild so that's a two point six billion dollar rebuild."

But the fight for relief money isn't officially won just yet.

"We don't have access to the funds until it becomes law. The Senate has passed their version of the supplemental, the House has passed the same version of the supplemental. It's now to the President for signature," said Hyden.

He added during his visit to the Panhandle, President Trump expressed a desire to sign a version of the bill that would help rebuild Tyndall.

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