JOHNSTON, Iowa — Although it’s been nine years since historic floods caused more than $5 billion in damage to Cedar Rapids, U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, believes there is “a chance” the city will get flood mitigation funds it is seeking.
“We’re doing what we can,” he said Friday about his efforts with 1st Congressional District Rep. Rod Blum and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. “We have to make sure that the money does come.”
Cedar Rapids city officials estimate it will take about $600 million over 20 years to protect the city from future floods. This includes $269 million from the state — which already has been allocated — $110 million from Cedar Rapids and $73 million from the federal government. Another $150 million still is unfunded.
The federal money was authorized as part of the Water Resources Development Act, but that legislation includes numerous projects across the United States and no money has been appropriated for Cedar Rapids.
Loebsack, who represented Cedar Rapids at the time of the 2008 flood, acknowledged that the “chance” for the community to get federal funds may be limited.
“Well, I think it’s fair to say given the problems that the federal government has had with the budget and all the rest, it’s hard to count on anything like that,” he said during taping of “Iowa Press,” which can be seen online at IPTV.org. “I think we can make some progress on that, (but) it remains to be seen whether we can get all the funding that we need.”
Although the 2nd District, which Loebsack now represents, doesn’t include Cedar Rapids, he promised to “continue to work as hard as I can to make sure that funding does come.”