DALLAS With a shutdown of the federal government looming, U.S. officials are rushing emergency funding to flood-stricken Colorado, where damage is estimated at $2 billion.
Damage from the widespread flooding that hit the state last week is estimated at about $2 billion, according to the catastrophe modeling firm Eqecat.
The projected losses for residential property alone are about $900 million - equivalent to more than $200 for each of the 4 million people who live in Colorado's 17 flood-stricken counties, according to a Reuters report on Eqecat’s projections.
The flooding also caused major damage at the natural gas drilling sites in the Julesburg Basin, officials said.
Most of the overall losses are uninsured, according to Eqecat.
Federal officials estimated that damage to roads and bridges are initially more than $150 million. The flooding wiped out large sections of highways, including U.S. 34 and U.S. 36 in Boulder and Larimer counties.
Federal officials have provide about $25 million to immediately open close roads, establish detours and protect damaged structures, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Wednesday.
The Colorado Department of Transportation on Tuesday asked contractors to submit bids for the repair work with work expected to begin next week.
House Republican leaders have vowed to shut down the federal government at the beginning of the new fiscal year Oct. 1 unless the Affordable Care Act is delayed for at least a year, the Keystone tar-sands pipeline from Canada is approved and steps are taken to revise the tax code. A battle over the debt limit later in October could raise the recurring threat of a default on U.S. debt.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper believes “it is unwise for us to speculate on hypotheticals,” according to spokeswoman Megan Castle.
With more than 53,000 federal employees, Colorado is particularly vulnerable to the proposed government shutdown. Its national parks would close and thousands of military service members would be required to work without paychecks.
The shutdown could also damage Colorado’s upcoming ski season if foreign travelers are unable to obtain visas, officials said.