Water infrastructure, flood protection bill advances through committee

by | Jul 22, 2020 | 5 Ag Stories, News

A bipartisan bill that would invest in Iowa?s water infrastructure and improve flood protection has advanced through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer recently added several key northeast Iowa priorities to the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which passed through committee last week. The committee approved Finkenauer?s amendment requiring the secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a best practices document that will be shared with local entities before they begin writing contract agreements.

Finkenauer says the amendment will cut red tape and improve efficiency for communities like Cedar Rapids when working with the Corps on flood control projects, and help reduce project delays caused by local governments being forced to rewrite contract agreements to align with Corps requirements.

?Anybody who lives in Iowa is familiar with how important our locks and dams are,? Finkenauer said. ?They understand what this means for our farmers in particular for trade. This is why we had a trade advantage in the past because of the fact we could move our goods at a cheaper rate than other countries who did not have this advanced infrastructure.?

Finkenauer adds that improving efficiency of the federal bureaucracy and communication between local government and the Corps is critical to completing needed flood protection projects in communities across Iowa.

?This is something I worked really closely with Congresswoman (Cindy) Axne on,? Finkenauer said. ?This is a piece she really fought for given how badly hit her district had been through flooding last spring. This was making sure that some of our smaller towns got that relief.?

The amendment was adopted on a bipartisan voice vote with Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Water Resources Subcommittee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR) each speaking in favor of the amendment prior to adoption.