Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) announced that three of Sacramento's top flood protection priorities were funded in the House Energy and Water Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations bill. The bill was passed by the full House Appropriations Committee today, and will next be up for a vote by the full House of Representatives.
In this current economic climate, several regions throughout the country are seeing significant project cuts or are receiving no funding. However, Sacramento's projects together will receive more than $93 million.
"While I understand the need to reign in the federal budget and reduce our national deficit, public safety must not be compromised just to meet a bottom line," said Congresswoman Matsui. "We cannot afford to put thousands of Sacramento homeowners and businesses at risk. The federal government must continue to be a partner in Sacramento's flood protection efforts, and I am pleased to see many of our critical projects receive the funding they need to move forward. I will continue working every day to see that our region's projects get the federal support they need and deserve."
Congresswoman Matsui has been a tireless advocate for federal support for Sacramento's flood protection priorities since she was sworn into office in 2005. She continues to be in constant contact with leaders of the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the State of California, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA), and other agencies to ensure that construction continues on time and on budget, and has continued to argue Sacramento's case to her colleagues on the Appropriations Committee through both conversations and formal letters.
The current funding levels, as written into the legislation before the Appropriations Committee, are as follows:
American River Common Features -- $6,080,000
For work within the American River Watershed, including the American River Common Features General Re-evaluation Report, further design work in support of levee improvements in Natomas and levee improvements on the American River.
Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project -- $82,300,000
To continue construction on the auxiliary spillway, which will provide greater efficiency in managing flood storage in Folsom Reservoir.
Folsom Dam Raise -- $4,800,000
To raise Folsom Dam to help achieve 200-year-flood protection for the region.
In addition, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill takes into account concerns that have been voiced, particularly across California, regarding the Army Corps of Engineers elimination of Section 104 crediting. This crediting provided certainty to local governments who decide to move forward on levee improvement projects with local and state money, with the assurances that the federal government will be a partner down the road. Unfortunately, following their elimination of Section 104 crediting, the Army Corps moved to Section 221 crediting, which has a much more rigorous set of criteria in order to get credit -- including obtaining a Chief's Report, which often is a multi-year process. This move is holding up projects, even those that are being thoroughly vetted and are critical to public safety.
Due to Congresswoman Matsui's advocating, the Energy and Water Appropriations bill calls for a more flexible policy for crediting, and directs the Secretary to review existing policy to determine if changes should be made so that there can be variance in the policy instead of a one-size-fits-all policy. The Secretary is required to report this within 60 days of enactment of the appropriations bill.
"The Army Corps' recent decisions regarding federal crediting for local work is another blanket approach that doesn't take into account the characteristics and variables of each project. I am hopeful that the Secretary will move forward with a policy that gives our region's projects the certainty they need."