The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given final approval for a $100-million flood-protection system for Cedar Rapids, but the city will have to compete against other projects being considered by congress. Cedar Rapids mayor, Ron Corbett, says the funding is part of an upcoming federal Water Resources Development Act.
“There’s communities all across the country that are looking for flood protection systems. We think the indication from Congress is they’ll do the mark-up of the bill maybe in this May-June time frame, with passage in the fall, in September or October,” Corbett says. The plan would only protect the east side of the Cedar River. Corbett says whether the city will win the funding is uncertain, but the Corps approval makes their chances a whole lot better.
Corbett says, “We have an approved project, which really is a huge step for us, because otherwise we were going to have to lobby for an out of scope project, which would have been almost impossible.” Corbett says the city will likely to have to raise its own money for the west side project — which could cost several hundred million more dollars.
Officials are hoping to raise the money through an extension of a 1% local sales tax increase. They also want the statehouse to temporarily divert sales tax collected from the Cedar Rapids area back to the city to fund the protections.