Illinois Congressional Delegation Announces $3.4 Million In FY2014 Funding to Fix Metro East Levee
Additional $3.8 million proposed in President’s FY2015 Budget request delivered to Congress yesterday
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation today announced that the Army Corps of Engineers will allocate $3.4 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 funding to fix the portions of the Wood River Levee that have been negatively impacted by a design deficiency in the construction of the Melvin Price Dam. The funding was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 that was signed into law by President Obama in January. As part of his FY 2015 Budget which was delivered to Congress yesterday, President Obama included an additional $3.8 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue the work next year. The FY2015 funding must now be appropriated by Congress.
Earlier this year, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) – both members of the Senate Appropriations Committee – and U.S. Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL), Bill Enyart (D-IL) and John Shimkus (R-IL) elevated this local Metro East issue to a national priority by writing the Army Corps of Engineers urging the Corps to use a portion of the funding appropriated for construction of high priority projects to fix the critical problem impacting the safety of the levees in the Metro East St. Louis region of Illinois. The members also including report language in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014 encouraging the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the problem as soon as possible and a legislative provision allowing the levee improvements to be 100% federally funded. More information on these efforts is available here.
“Earlier this year, we asked the Army Corps of Engineers to address a critical problem impacting the safety of the levees in the Metro East St. Louis region of Illinois,” the Members said. “Today, we are pleased that the Army Corps has responded to that request by identifying additional funding to help make the necessary upgrades at the Mel Price Lock and Dam. It is also clear today that the Administration views the repair of these levees as a high priority for America’s waterways system and the safety of this region. We will continue working together to ensure that this project remains a national priority.”
Illinois members continue to work to protect two important provisions related to flood prevention efforts in the Metro East region as a House-Senate Conference Committee - which includes both Davis and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) - works out the differences between the Senate passed Water Resources Development Act of 2013 and the House passed Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013. The following two provisions, included in the Senate’s version of the bill, would support the Metro East region’s effort to repair and recertify the levees that protect residents in southwest Illinois:
1) A fix that would make the Metro East levee projects eligible for work-in-kind credits which will greatly assist local efforts to correct deficiencies to the levees and prevent flooding. Currently, work performed by the local non-Federal sponsor on the Metro East projects does not qualify for such in-kind credits because the law requires the projects to be authorized after 1986.
2) A requirement to combine the several separately authorized Metro East levee projects into one project authority to allow the Army Corps of Engineers greater flexibility and efficiency in using federal funding to complete the projects.
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