WASHINGTON – On the ten year anniversary of the historic Cedar Rapids flood, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) recognized how the community came together to help rebuild, and called on the federal government to better collaborate and reform metrics to ensure that rural areas have the same access to federal funding as coastal areas.
“Ten years ago, the Cedar Rapids community was devastated by flooding. Folks were forced to evacuate, leaving their homes and their businesses under water. The loss to the Cedar Rapids community was $5.4 billion dollars.
“What we saw after the flood embodied the people of Iowa. We saw resilience, kindness and generosity. The community came together to rebuild and help others in need. Now, it is time for the federal government to do their part to help the Cedar Rapids community, with funding so Cedar Rapids can protect itself from future floods. Federal agencies should also better collaborate to reform the flawed benefit-cost ratio (BCR) so that rural communities have the same access to funding as coastal areas. The value of life is the same, whether it’s in California or Iowa.” said Senator Joni Ernst.
Senator Ernst’s leadership efforts to help the Cedar Rapids Community:
- September 2016: Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) demanding answers on why flood mitigation projects in the Cedar Rapids region have not been completed.
- October 2016: Senators Grassley and Ernst send letter to USACE seeking insight into flawed policy that has led to the downgrading of flood control projects in Iowa cities.
- November 2016: Senator Ernst meets with head of USACE to discuss prioritization of Cedar Rapids flood mitigation project.
- February 2017: In Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Hearing, Senator Ernst pushes for improving metrics USACE uses to prioritize flood mitigation projects.
- March 2017: In EPW committee hearing, Senator Ernst questions Lt. General Todd T. Semonite, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of USACE, on the status of Cedar Rapids Flood Mitigation Project funding.
- May 2017: Senator Ernst highlights for Lt. General Semonite and EPW committee the domestic and global economic impact of Cedar Rapids goods and their dependence on support from USACE.
- December 2017: Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James, commits to reevaluating and improving the current BCR in EPW hearing.
- January 2018: At EPW hearing, Senator Ernst again pushed for a commitment from Lt. General Semonite to work to modify the BCR metrics.
- January 2018: Senators Ernst, Grassley and Congressman Blum (IA-01) sit down with Director of Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney to find a path forward to ensure Iowa receives long overdue federal assistance.
- February 2018: Senator Ernst, Senator Grassley, and Congressman Blum sent a letter to Lieutenant General Semonite and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James requesting further information on how the Army Corps makes certain project funding decisions.
- March 2018: Senator Ernst follows up with R.D. James on letter she sent regarding the status of Cedar Rapids flood project funding.
- May 2018: America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 was passed by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and included Ernst provisions addressing the flawed BCR metrics and calling for prioritization of the Cedar Rapids flood control project.