A draft bill is moving forward at the statehouse that would allow the state to funnel $200-million in sales taxes to Cedar Rapids over 20 years for flood protection. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, helped create the bill that he says is not just for his hometown.
“It’s not just limited to Cedar Rapids, obviously Cedar Rapids is bringing this forward,” Hogg says, “but we want to create a tool where the state can be a partner in flood protection in those situations where we can also then expect some economic growth and vitality and development out of the project.”
Cedar Rapids was heavily damaged in the 2008 flooding and is looking to build a $350-million flood protection system. Hogg says the bill creates a model for how the state would help any community in the wake of a major flood. “It’s mitigation, it’s protecting communities from flood damage, it allows a mechanism for the state to be a partner with the local government and the federal government in protecting communities from future flood disaster,” Hogg explains, “And I think this is something that can be one of the signature accomplishments of this legislature.”
Under the bill, communities would have to contribute at least 25% of the full cost of the flood protection. The private sector will have to kick in too by promising future economic development. Cedar Rapids officials say they need this bill approved in order to win additional federal funding for flood recovery.