Cedar Rapids flood protection on plate this week in Congress, at Statehouse

Officials hope House-Senate conference committee have bill in front of Congress before end of session Dec. 13

Rick Smith
Published: December 2 2013 | 4:30 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:22 am in
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Flood protection for Cedar Rapids is on the agenda this week in Congress and at the Statehouse.

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Waterloo, on Monday called on a Senate-House conference committee to include support for flood protection in Cedar Rapids as part of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013.

Both the Senate and House have passed with large, bipartisan support a version of the WRRDA Act of 2013, and the Cedar Rapids project is part of both versions.

Braley now is calling for the Cedar Rapids project to stay in the compromise bill that is expected to emerge from the conference committee. The committee is meeting this week into next week, Jeff Giertz, Braley spokesman, said Monday.

"Cedar Rapids will be able to move forward with a vital flood control project, but only if its included in the final legislation," Braley said Monday. " This project is too important to Cedar Rapids for any more delays."

Braley also is asking the Senate-House conference committee to continue to support infrastructure improvements for locks and dams along the Mississippi River.

Giertz said the hope is that the conference committee will have a bill in front of Congress before it ends its session on Dec. 13. But the outlook for that to occur is uncertain, he said.

Decisions on funding projects included in any conference committee bill will come later.

Congressional support for a Cedar Rapids project includes funding for much of a flood protection system on the east side of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids.

The city also is seeking state funding help so it can build a complete flood protection system on both sides of the river with the help of city funds.

On Wednesday, the city will appear in front of the Iowa Flood Mitigation Board to see if the state board is willing to provide state funding support.

The city is seeking $264 million in state funds and about one-fourth that amount in new federal funds.

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