* Governor quickly signs after House, Senate passage
* Aid is for Duluth, norteastern Minnesota communities
By David Bailey
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug 24 Minnesota legislators
approved $167.5 million of disaster aid on Friday for Duluth and
other northeastern Minnesota communities devastated by flooding
and high winds in June that ripped up roads and homes and killed
State representatives voted 125-3 to approve the disaster
aid legislation and senators voted 60-7 in a special session
that lasted about two hours.
No changes were permitted in the aid package agreed to on
Wednesday by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and legislative
leaders from both parties. Dayton signed the bill later on
Heavy rains and high winds forced hundreds of residents from
their homes across several northeastern Minnesota communities.
In Duluth, flash flooding tore up roads, caused mudslides and
sinkholes and killed a dozen animals at the Lake Superior Zoo.
The storms from June 14-21 battered 13 Minnesota counties
and three tribal nations, swamping roads in state parks and
inundating low-lying areas near Lake Superior.
State officials said the planned spending would come from
budget reserves. About $79 million is planned for repairing or
replacing roads and bridges. Some of the funds will be used to
cover local or state matches for federal aid.
A federal disaster aid request from Minnesota said the
storms caused more than $108 million of road and public
infrastructure damage alone and that figure was likely to rise.
More than 1,700 homes in Minnesota sustained some damage
from the storms, and about 93 percent of those homeowners did
not carry flood insurance. Individual home and business owners
have been denied federal assistance. The storms also caused
damage in areas of Northwestern Wisconsin.
(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bob