WASHINGTON –Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) announcement that it will award 117 million dollars in federal funding to the Cedar Rapids flood mitigation project. This funding comes more than 10 years after record-breaking flooding in the city caused approximately $5.4 billion in damages.
“Over the past ten years, the City of Cedar Rapids has worked tirelessly to develop and advance this project which will protect its residents and businesses from future flooding events. Hundreds of millions of state and local dollars have already been committed, but what has been missing is this critical federal share of the project.
“In addition to efforts by the city and state governments, for years, I have pushed the Corps to review its flawed benefit-cost ratio (BCR) metrics, which disadvantage projects in rural states, and find a way to fund projects like this. I am proud to see our combined efforts pay off today—this funding will not only protect the city, but also give businesses the certainty they need to confidently invest in the Cedar Rapids community.”
Senator Ernst’s efforts to secure funding for Cedar Rapids:
- September 2016: Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Chuck Grassley send a letter to the USACE demanding answers on why flood mitigation projects in the Cedar Rapids region have not been completed.
- October 2016: Senators Grassley and Ernst send a letter to USACE seeking insight into a 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 metrics in EPW hearing.
- January 2018: At EPW hearing, Senator Ernst again pushes 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 resources.
- February 2018: Senator Ernst, Senator Grassley, and Congressman Blum send a letter to Lt. General Semonite and Secretary James requesting further information on how the USACE makes certain project funding decisions.
- March 2018: Senator Ernst follows up with Secretary James on letter she sent regarding the status of Cedar Rapids flood project funding.
- May 2018: America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 passed out of the EPW Committee and included an Ernst provision addressing the flawed BCR metrics and calling for prioritization of the Cedar Rapids flood control project.