The Washington Post

Virginia seeks federal aid for earthquake-damaged schools

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) is seeking federal disaster aid to help repair or replace Louisa County schools damaged by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in August.

The quake and subsequent aftershocks caused an estimated $31 million in damage to county schools, two of which remain closed.

McDonnell’s request is separate from one he made in September on behalf of individual property owners and renters affected by the earthquake. The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied that request. McDonnell plans to appeal FEMA’s decision this week, his office said.

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and the Louisa County High School sustained the most substantial damage from the earthquake and have been closed indefinitely. Classes go on in temporary facilities.

Engineers and state officials have been working with the county and its insurance company to determine the cost of repairs and extent of insurance coverage, the governor’s office said. Although the numbers have not been finalized, McDonnell’s office said insurance coverage is expected to fall short of the estimated $31 million cost of repairs.

The FEMA aid would help state and local governments recover costs associated with infrastructure, debris removal and related emergency services.

Laura Vozzella covers Virginia politics for The Washington Post.

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