D.C. mayor says federal disaster funds on the way for snow cleanup

The federal government will reimburse Washington authorities for snow cleanup in the wake of two massive snowstorms that recently hit the region, according to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

The mayor said that city agencies have done the best possible job clearing snow from roadways and sidewalks, but that the federal government will kick in disaster relief funds in order to defray growing costs for local governments.

Asked on MSNBC if the city has done the best job possible, Fenty said "There's no question. You got to spend a day with a plow driver, working around the clock" but admitted that "there's always things you could do better."

Fenty also said that he spoke with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Wednesday, who assured him that the federal government will reimburse the cost to the D.C. government, a move that he called "a big help."

Many area resident have become frustrated with the D.C. city government as well as Virginia and Maryland authorities because they believe not enough has been done to clear roads, sidewalks and transit lines.

But Fenty said that D.C. averages 15 inches of snow per winter, and does not have the capacity to handle the 65 inches that have fallen on the city this year. He did say that in the future, the city would seek to expand agreements with private contractors and keep snow removal equipment better maintained.

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) said Wednesday that federal disaster relief funds administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, are likely on the way for the region.

Over 30 inches of snow has fell on the region since last Friday, essentially paralyzing the city. The federal government has been closed all week and the House of Representatives has also called off its votes for the rest of the week.

The Senate voted Tuesday, but it is unlikely it will vote again this week.

Both the House and the Senate are expected to keep their President's Day recess next week, meaning they will not return for votes until the following week.