COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Governor John Kasich requested in a letter Monday that President Trump declare the flooding that struck Greater Cincinnati in late February "a major disaster."
Such a declaration would make flood-affected communities, some of which Kasich believes could be up to six years away from full recovery, eligible for millions in disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The governor is asking Trump to send more than $44 million to Ohio, $4.4 million of which would help Hamilton County's clean up efforts.
"The greatest impact from this incident is damage to critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and public buildings," Kasich wrote, adding that reconstruction would be a particular challenge for rural communities with small populations and correspondingly low levels of tax revenue.
"Without supplemental federal assistance, some of these repairs could go uncompleted for great lengths of time as the local officials attempt to identify limited state and local funds to assist with their recovery," he wrote.
The widespread flooding, which culminated Feb. 25 when the Ohio River crested at 60.53 feet -- its highest point in two decades -- affected communities near the river and its tributaries throughout the Tri-State region.
According to Kasich, preventative steps on the part of state and local agencies such as the Ohio Emergency Management Agency shielded the area from the worst possible damage, and a post-flood declaration of emergency allowed small communities such as New Richmond, Ohio, to access state resources for damage assessment and repair.
However, responding to the sheer scale of damage, especially to infrastructure, came with a price tag of about $44,006,057, Kasich wrote.
Damage to roads comprises the majority of that cost -- about $39,000,000 -- according to the letter.
"It will be approximately 5-6 years before all work can be completed," Kasich wrote of the road repairs. "At this time, only temporary repairs have been made to ensure for the health and safety of the traveling public."
Other portions include around $2,000,000 for debris cleanup and $899,903 for two Hamilton County government buildings affected by the flooding.