Residents and businesses in Northern California towns cleared away debris Tuesday as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expanded his list of counties eligible for flood disaster funds.
GUERNEVILLE, Calif. Residents and businesses in Northern California towns cleared away debris Tuesday as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expanded his list of counties eligible for flood disaster funds.
Separately, lawmakers in the state capital of Sacramento predicted the flooding would add momentum to plans for a massive state infrastructure bond with funding for the state's aging levee system, which guards some of California's richest farm lands from floods.
"It will be a considerable amount of money," Schwarzenegger said as he toured a levee near Sacramento.
Schwarzenegger made another 16 counties eligible for state funds to help recover from flooding caused by two powerful winter storms. Along with seven counties named Monday, the list includes the heart of the state's wine region in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, which were hit especially hard.
The city of Napa suffered an estimated $110 million in damages to homes and businesses, but shops in its downtown are reopening, city spokesman Peter Dreier said.
Napa winemakers dodged damage as they had already harvested grapes and planted cover in vineyards to hold down soil.
In Guerneville, the largest resort town along the Russian River, Tom Glover, owner of Pee Wee Golf, estimated it would take him two weeks to clean up his arcade and amusement center where waters ruined video games and pinball machines.
He was pleased, however, that a cardboard figure of Marilyn Monroe survived without damage.
Elsewhere throughout town, businesses and home owners piled up waterlogged trash on the street, scooped up mud and removed carpeting ruined by the flooding.
Southwest of the famed wine region in Marin County, the quaint town of San Anselmo suffered some of its worst flooding in decades as creeks overflowed into its shopping district, leaving stores filled with mud and waterlogged goods.
"I think it's fair to say it'll be in the tens of millions of dollars," Assemblyman Joe Nation, who represents Marin County, said of expected losses in San Anselmo.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democrat, called on federal and state agencies to quickly assess flood damage so the federal government could provide disaster funds.
Lawmakers from Northern California's delta region, which is crisscrossed by levees, said the damage from the recent storms ensured funding for levee repairs would be a top priority in any infrastructure bond.
Schwarzenegger is expected to unveil his ideas for an infrastructure bond in his state of the state speech Thursday. He has thrown out the possibility of the state issuing up to $50 billion in debt to finance upgrading highways, parts, levees and other infrastructure.
Republican Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi from Lodi predicted lawmakers would not ignore levees as in past years. "It will be a high priority," he said.
(Additional reporting by Jim Christie in Sacramento)