Flood 2016

Blum, Loebsack all for expedited Corps review of Cedar Rapids flood project

Amendment to Water Resources Development Act offered

US Sen. Chuck Grassley talks with Cedar Rapids Council member Susie Weinacht while viewing flood protection progress on the west side of the river in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. In foreground, Mayor Ron Corbett (left) talks with US Rep. Rod Blum. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
US Sen. Chuck Grassley talks with Cedar Rapids Council member Susie Weinacht while viewing flood protection progress on the west side of the river in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. In foreground, Mayor Ron Corbett (left) talks with US Rep. Rod Blum. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — As the Cedar River was rising to major flood level, members of the Iowa’s U.S. House delegation called for construction of the Cedar Rapids flood protection to be expedited by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Cedar Rapids project was approved by Congress in 2014, but has not been included in the administration’s budget because the Army Corps of Engineers’ cost-to-benefit ratio is “just over one,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a Senate floor speech Monday.

In anticipation of the House approving the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) this week, U.S. Reps. Rod Blum, Dave Loebsack and David Young Monday offered an amendment calling for the Corps to prioritize its review of the project.

“I spent the weekend working alongside Iowans to prepare for the flooding, and will continue working hard in Washington to educate my colleagues on both sides of the aisle about the Cedar Rapids project so we can pass this amendment,” Blum said.

Passing the amendment would send a strong message to the Obama administration “that Congress feels strongly that the Cedar Rapids project should be a top priority,” he said.

In recent years, Blum, a Republican, and Loebsack, a Democrat, have sent joint letters to the Corps, House Appropriations Committee and Obama administration asking for the Cedar Rapids flood protection funds to be released.

The Iowa representatives’ language is similar to language Sen. Joni Ernst was able to add to WRDA.

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Unlike the Senate version passed earlier this month it doesn’t include emergency funding to address lead-contaminated drinking water and wastewater needs in Flint, Michigan. House Republicans say they are open to adding that funding when the bill goes to a House-Senate conference committee.

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