Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) introduced bipartisan legislation to help state and local governmental agencies invest in necessary flood protection projects. H.R. 2293, the Flood Control Credit Act of 2013 will assure that non-federal sponsors of Army Corps of Engineers flood protection projects will receive full credit for their expenditures and work on projects. It will also allow agencies the flexibility to transfer credit from one project to another.
Section 104 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 allows non-federal partners the ability to take immediate actions to address and minimize known public safety risks. It also preserves the ability to have these local costs counted as part of the local share once the federal project is authorized. However, in May 2011, the Corps decided to discontinue crediting under Section 104. As a result, it has been more difficult for local stakeholders to invest in federal flood protection projects. In some cases, this has resulted in a delay to or an altogether halting of local flood protection project construction. This legislation would revise crediting guidance to take into account potential unintended consequences such as jeopardizing local funding sources and delaying project development and construction schedules.
"During this time of constrained federal funding, I believe it is imperative that local investments in flood protection projects be encouraged rather than hindered. While the Corps should be able to exercise reasonable discretion when determining when and whether credit should be granted, a blanket prohibition against credit under Section 104 will exclude a number of projects worthy of credit and will result in many communities not constructing levee improvements," said Congresswoman Matsui.
"This legislation will require the Army Corps of Engineers to continue Section 104 crediting, ensuring local and state governments receive credit for the local costs once the project is federally authorized. These local investments will enhance public safety, reduce federal recovery costs, and create jobs, and should be encouraged."
"Local and state governments deserve recognition when they step up to address flood risks that the federal government has identified as priorities. This measure enables flood control work to begin more rapidly and continues the longstanding partnership between the Corps, state governments and local entities by providing credit for work done on federally-approved projects," added Representative LaMalfa.
"Ensuring that our local and state entities have the tools to begin work quickly is just common sense and helps to protect homes, businesses and our communities at the lowest cost possible."
"The City of West Sacramento is extremely grateful for Rep. Matsui and Rep. LaMalfa's work on this important issue. We strongly support this legislation, which encourages local cities and states to expedite critical levee improvements by providing a path toward joint completion with the federal government. This legislation is critical for protecting the safety and economy of the Sacramento region and communities like ours across the nation, and we urge Congress to move swiftly towards passage," said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.
"I commend Representatives Matsui and LaMalfa for their leadership in introducing the Flood Control Credit Act of 2013. This legislation will facilitate early-action construction by State and local authorities, thereby enhancing public safety," said Rick Johnson, executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA).
"When it comes to minimizing flood risks, local stakeholders like SBFCA need tools that allow us to move in concert with, but faster than the federal government. Every year we wait to strengthen our levees is a gamble that we can't afford. This legislation restores a technical, but critical component of reducing very real threats to our community. SBFCA applauds this bipartisan effort," said Mike Inamine, P.E., executive director of the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency (SBFCA).