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Rep. Barletta visits to see Londonderry, Hummelstown flood damage firsthand

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 8/8/18

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazelton, remembered getting in a boat near Bloomsburg after Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene to help bring water to people who were stranded.

Some people …

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Rep. Barletta visits to see Londonderry, Hummelstown flood damage firsthand

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U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazelton, remembered getting in a boat near Bloomsburg after Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene to help bring water to people who were stranded.

Some people didn’t want to leave their homes or pets behind, and Barletta recalled that the street signs were at eye-level from inside the boat.

“That’s how deep the water was,” Barletta said.

On Aug. 1, Barletta visited Dauphin County to assess damage caused by recent flooding. After speaking with the Dauphin County commissioners, Barletta traveled to Engle Road bridge over the Conewago Creek in Londonderry Township and the Duke Street Bridge in Hummelstown.

When he heard about the recent flood damage, Barletta said he had flashbacks to floods from the 2011 storms. Coming from local government, Barletta told the commissioners that he understood what they were going through. Barletta served as mayor of Hazelton from 1999 to 2010.

Barletta said that he came to see what happened and how he could help.

“It’s good for me to see what happened and go back to Washington and try to get that help,” Barletta told the Press & Journal.

The National Weather Service in State College reported that between July 21 and July 25, 9.38 inches of rain fell at Harrisburg International Airport.

Residents lost power in Londonderry, and roads were closed throughout area municipalities. Engle Road was still closed near the Conewago Creek when the congressman visited the bridge.

Throughout his tour, Barletta was joined by other politicians such as state Rep. Thomas Mehaffie, R-Lower Swatara Township, Hummelstown borough leaders, Swatara Township commissioners and Londonderry Supervisor Ron Kopp.

Kopp said that the Engle Street bridge had the worst damage in the township.

“Conewago created a lot of havoc, obviously a lot of damage here,” Kopp said.

Barletta said over the past several years, he has been working to get the federal government to invest in pre-disaster mitigation. Every dollar spent before a disaster saves taxpayers six to eight dollars, Barletta said.

Flooding is going to happen again someday, he said.

“We need to be smart as a federal government and in areas where we know this is going to happen again, let’s prevent it. Let’s use taxpayer dollars upfront rather than afterward,” Barletta told the commissioners.

Standing on the Engle Road bridge, Barletta told the Press & Journal that this was a perfect example.

“Rather than the township and the state come in here to rebuild this, let the federal government come in and say, ‘If we do something about [what] created the problem, we’re going to give you money so that this problem doesn’t happen again,’” Barletta said.

Barletta, who is running for U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Bob Casey, thanked local politicians for their leadership and first responders “who risked their own lives to try to help our constituents here in Pennsylvania.”