More Flood Buyout Aid in Pipeline

Article excerpt

The White House is expected to endorse a plan today that could help thousands more Midwestern flood victims sell their homes and permanently move out of the flood plains.

Sen. John C. Danforth, R-Mo., said the Office of Management and Budget agreed to a request late Monday for an additional $250 million in aid to finance flood buyouts.

Demand for government buyouts has exceeded the money available to help people move from their damaged homes. Last week, Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan said Missouri alone needed $124 million more to help all those who have signed up for the program.

The $250 million would be divided among all the Midwestern states affected by last summer's flooding. Steve Hilton, Danforth's spokesman, said Missouri was expected to get more than a third of the money and twice as much as any other state.

Hilton said Danforth met Friday with Budget Director Leon E. Panetta and gave him a list of almost 50 communities in Missouri that wanted to take part in a buyout program but did not have the money to purchase damaged homes and clear them out of the flood plain.

"Panetta signed off on the $250 million late Monday," Hilton said. …