Funding for a portion of Cedar Rapids’ flood control system recently was secured, and the most oft-cited number by congressional Republicans has been $117 million, but the reality is quite different. This number is based on an estimate by the Army Corps of Engineers last year, which would come in the form of a $76.3 million federal grant and a non-federal portion that’s equal to $41.1 million. The latter figure is essentially our obligated share of the project costs, but we will be allowed to deduct the value of land, easements, and construction costs from the principal amount. It would also be possible for the city to be reimbursed for construction-related costs, but this amount would have to be deducted from the federal grant.
It’s not clear how much the aforementioned credits will affect our share, but it’s expected to cover most of the $41.1 million in costs. However, we are required to pay at least 5 percent of project costs, which would be $5.85 million, as well as the difference between this quantity and the deductions from the principal amount. This must come in the form of a collateralized loan with no set interest rate.
Therefore, the $117 million claim is dishonest, which should be plain to U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, who had nothing to do with H.R. 3080, which is the basis of the project. Thus far, the city has spent $61 million on mitigation efforts, and the state has promised $267 million for the system. So, distorted numbers from a $4.4 trillion budget shouldn’t impress.