Lawmakers again prod Army Corps

Ohio’s senators and Rep. Bob Latta wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers again Thursday to support federally-funded flood control in the Blanchard River watershed, this time stressing its economic importance in a “region primed for growth.”
Northwestern Ohio, said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, “won’t be able to reach its full potential as long as the threat of flooding remains.”
“In the end, this project is about improving people’s lives and the vitality of the communities it will protect,” Portman said.
The project “will help spur economic growth and protect the Findlay and Ottawa communities from devastating disasters,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
“But for this to happen, the U.S. Army Corps must commit the funds necessary for the project’s completion. Until this happens, my colleagues and I will continue this fight on behalf of northwest Ohio’s citizens.”
Latta said flooding “is both a safety and economic concern that directly impacts” his congressional district.
He said federal flood control is “critical for northwest Ohio’s economic future and, while I am encouraged by the (Army’s) response to date, it is imperative that it allocate the necessary remaining funds to ensure this portion of the project is completed.”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 provided a 10 percent funding increase for the Corps of Engineers, including $8 million in unallocated funds for flood-control projects, as well as $3.6 million for general flood and storm damage reduction projects, Portman said.
The legislators said additional funds are supposed to support flood-control studies, particularly those that lead to significant economic benefits by avoiding damages caused by flooding.
Portman, Brown and Latta have asked the corps to support the Blanchard River project a number of times and have urged it to include the region in funding in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 fiscal years.

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