Galveston mayor asking for billions in aid to restore island

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - Galveston's mayor is seeking more than two billion dollars in emergency federal aid to make her island city habitable after the devastation of Hurricane Ike.

Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas estimates the final price tag to fully restore Galveston would be about 2.4 billion dollars.

Thomas and officials from the Port of Galveston and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston will meet with a Senate ad hoc committee in Washington today.

She says she plans to tell Congress that the question lawmakers must decide is whether "Galveston is worth saving."

Hurricane Ike battered Galveston with 110 mile-per-hour winds and a 12-foot storm surge. It's blamed for 61 deaths, including 26 in Texas. More than 1 million people evacuated the Texas coast, including about 45,000 residents Galveston Island residents.

Many are expected back tomorrow. That's the first day officials were allowing residents to return to an island still sorely lacking basic services.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)