In the News
Mar 27 2017
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Iowa lawmakers are taking their fight for federal funding for the Cedar Rapids flood project to the White House.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) made the case for the project in a meeting with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney on Monday.
The project was authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development act of 2014, but never funded.
"We are going to keep at it, not giving up, we are not going away," said Rep. Rod Blum in an interview following the meeting.
Congressman Blum says he explained his frustrations with the Army Corps of Engineer's funding formula, which he says has not worked in Iowa's favor during the 30-minute meeting.
"Our real estate values in Cedar Rapids, Iowa are not what they are in Los Angeles or Miami or Dallas," Blum explained. "It's tough for places like Cedar Rapids to compete."
Sen. Ernst says she was encouraged by the meeting, but acknowledged that the funding fight is far from over.
"The fact of the matter is, the federal government still comes in, after the fact and has to pay for recovery efforts," Ernst said. "So, why not invest those dollars on the front end and prevent that economic or safety disaster in the first place."
State and local officials are asking the federal government for $73 of the $600 million required to fund the project.The Army Corps of Engineers did not allocate any money for it in its budget, but lawmakers have some ideas to try and get the ball rolling
"The long term answer is legislatively, there's a backlog of projects and we will never come to the top of it unless they change those formulas," Rep. Blum said.
In the short term, the lawmakers say they are trying to get the funding into the president's trillion-dollar stimulus
"We can't make any promises," Sen. Ernst said. "But, what we can promise is that we are going to work as hard as we can to make sure that this is getting the attention that is necessary for funding."
The lawmakers say the administration has not given them any firm commitment on the funding