Tags: Hurricane Irma | Marco Rubio | marco rubio | florida keys | rebuild | hurricane irma | damage

Rubio: Florida Keys Will Be a 'Long Time' in Rebuilding

(Fox News)

By    |   Tuesday, 12 September 2017 01:37 PM

It will be a "long time" before many of the small businesses in the Florida Keys will be up and running again after Hurricane Irma, Sen. Marco Rubio, who toured the region, said Tuesday.

"The access, the Keys are hard enough to get to now with a single road that basically runs up and down the Keys," the Florida Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program.

"It is also difficult, especially if traffic starts to pile up and you have to get the crews in there. [There are] a lot of challenges in the Florida Keys and different parts of the state."

Rubio said that the government is focused on ensuring that acute needs are being met, whether it's for ongoing rescue in the northeast part of the state or restoring power.

"FEMA has a program to help people with temporary housing," Rubio said. "Ensuring that online is the next phase of this."

There are different reports coming from throughout the state, even in parts that did not get hit by the brunt of the storm, Rubio said, and to "things people don't think about," such as the agriculture community.

"Our citrus industry, one of the big things Florida was known for, was already struggling," the senator said. "We get a damage assessment how bad it's been for them and the people that work there as well. You aren't getting some of the images you may have gotten from some of the bigger storms over the last few years but some of the underlying long-term damage is the kinds of things we don't have a full assessment on."

Rubio said the state's residents have a great deal to be grateful for in terms of its first responders, who have saved many lives by moving people out of danger's way.

It's not yet known what the cost will be to rebuild, Rubio said, but it'll be in the billions.

"People won't be able to go back to their homes for a while," he said. "Temporary housing will cost money. A lot of cities and counties have expended significant amounts of funds not in their normal budgets for cleanup, debris removal and overtime operations, so that's where you will see some of the FEMA reimbursements kick in."

In addition, there is a Coast Guard Station and a naval air station in Key West, Rubio pointed out, so the Department of Defense also will incur costs for rebuilding.

"I think the first priority is life safety and then comes the rebuilding part and I think we're still involved in the first angle of it, especially in some of these shelters and then of course the second part is now underway," he said.

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It will be a "long time" before many of the small businesses in the Florida Keys will be up and running again after Hurricane Irma, Sen. Marco Rubio, who toured the region, said Tuesday.
marco rubio, florida keys, rebuild, hurricane irma, damage
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2017-37-12
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 01:37 PM
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