TOP STORY: Army Corps Approves $117M in Flood Funding

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - The Army Corps of Engineers announced today it will approve $117 million in funding for flood protection, more than 10 years after the 2008 flood.

The city has already started work on its $550 million plan to protect downtown and the west side of the river, including the Sinclair Levee and Cedar Rapids Amphitheater. It had previously pledged city money and millions from the state.

City Manager Pomeranz and Mayor Hart give much of the credit to Senator Joni Ernst, who has been an outspoken champion for Cedar Rapids’ in Washington DC but thanked many others for pushing leaders in Washington, D.C.

“The announcement of this federal funding award to Cedar Rapids marks a milestone in the City’s long history of pursuing permanent flood control,” said Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids City Manager. “This award is federal recognition and acknowledgement that Cedar Rapids’ project is viable, has been planned, and is ready to implement to protect citizens and property.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the work of those who have come before us in the pursuit of this funding,” said Brad Hart, Cedar Rapids Mayor. “This truly has been a team effort, with multiple people working hard to advocate for the long term protection of Cedar Rapids.”

The total project cost estimate for the complete Flood Control System is $750 million. The State of Iowa has committed to contributing $284 million — 35% of the total cost. Federal and City contributions are also a critical part of the overall funding plan. The City will match $110 million, with $10 million already invested. City leaders are currently developing ideas to determine a funding source for the City’s commitment as well as additional funding gaps necessary to construct the entire system.

Moving forward, the City will continue to work closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers to establish a Project Partnership Agreement, which will guide construction of next segments.

SEN. JONI ERNST STATEMENT:“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.”

*EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version noted the cost of flood protection at $550 million. That is based on today's cost. The city estimates the work will take 20 years, which would increase the cost to $750 million due primarily to inflation.