ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Three Missouri lawmakers are urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to commit some recently approved funding to levee improvements in northwest Missouri.
Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, along with U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, recently wrote to the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works and chief engineer and said the state of Missouri and local sources will provide matching funds needed for levee upgrades, the St. Joseph News-Press (http://bit.ly/1I0mBQj ) reported.
The omnibus spending bill that cleared Congress last month provides money to the Army Corps of Engineers for new projects aimed at flood and storm damage reduction. The letter notes that billions of dollars are at risk by continued flood threats along the Missouri River in the St. Joseph region.
“More importantly, the economic growth, stability and safety of the area these levees protect depends on your thoughtful attention to the (levee system),” the letter said.
Steve Johnston, director of the Community Alliance of St. Joseph, said the need for improvements is more than two decades in the making.
“We’re 21 years into this process from the flood of 1993,” he said.
Local leaders have met several times with Corps of Engineers officials in Kansas City, and had two meetings in Washington, D.C., to discuss the levee work, which would cost an estimated $70 million.
Efforts got a boost in September when Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon released $2 million to serve as part of the money needed to match the federal cost of the project.
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