FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – Standing on an eroded beach in Flagler County on Friday morning, Gov. Rick Scott announced that he will allocate $15.8 million in state funds to repair beach damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, the most destructive storm to hit Florida in more than a decade.
Funding provided by Scott's executive authority will be used to restore eroded beaches in Flagler, St Johns, Volusia and Brevard counties where erosion threatens roadways, homes and businesses.
“Since this storm first crossed our state, we have been fully committed to using every available resource to help our families and communities recover, and we will continue to do so,” Scott said.
Projects will include replacing sand along beaches and repairing and constructing sand dunes to prepare for potential future storms. Scott said that Florida’s beaches provide critical storm protection and habitat for wildlife while also serving as an economic driver for coastal communities.
“With sea turtle nesting season beginning in May and hurricane season beginning in June, it is crucial that these projects are completed as soon as possible,” Scott said.
During Scott's visit, he toured damage to the beaches and repairs needed at Washington Oaks Garden State Park.
Matthew didn't make landfall in Florida but battered the coastline in some areas.
Insurance claims in Florida -- dominated by residential and business filings from northeastern counties -- stand at $803 million, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation. The state has also reported $430.8 million in damages to government facilities and structures, including damage to a 1.3-mile section of Florida A1A in Flagler Beach that caused Scott to pursue expedited repairs.
Flagler County Administrator Craig Coffey had estimated residential damage to total more than $66 million, including 11 destroyed homes and 154 homes with major damage.
Scott's proposed budget for 2017-2018 that will be announced later this month will include the remaining $61.2 million to actualize the state’s needed restoration to $77 million. This figure is based on the latest hurricane damage assessment from both hurricanes Matthew and Hermine.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.