Thursday, March 7, 2019

River Mayors Push $7.8B Infrastructure Plan

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 1:44 PM

click to enlarge sunset-and-mississippi-river-views-from-the-roof-of-the-peab.jpg

Mayors from cities up and down the Mississippi River pushed a $7.8 billion infrastructure plan in Washington Thursday as near-record floodwaters rise on those muddy banks.

Twenty mayors with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers working on a massive infrastructure bill. The mayors laid out their plan to reinforce the “essential natural and built infrastructure of the Mississippi River” corridor as the river swelled.

Southern Illinois registered its third-highest flood level and Vidalia, Louisiana, is about to tie for its second-highest water level, according to Lionel Johnson, mayor of St. Gabriel, Louisiana.
“The National Weather Service hydrologic outlook for our entire corridor predicts considerable risk for significant flooding into the spring,” Johnson said. “We must act. We are in D.C. urging serious proposals to address the vulnerabilities we see on the ground.”

click to enlarge The Mississippi River at 38 feet on February 24th. - FACEBOOK- MIKE LAWHEAD
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  • The Mississippi River at 38 feet on February 24th.

To fight those vulnerabilities, the group says it needs $7.8 billion to fix bridges, roads, wetlands, ports, and more along the 2,300-mile river. To fund it, the MRCTI hopes lawmakers will establish a revolving loan fund to “help communities address several hazards including droughts, intense heat, wild fires, and significant storms.”

“We’re not going to solve our problems with grants,” said Frank Klipsch, mayor of Davenport, Iowa. “One of the largest infrastructure grant programs in the federal budget is the BUILD Grant program.

“The entire award history of the BUILD program would not even meet one fourth of the investment needed to bring the nation’s inland waterway system up to a state of good repair let alone all surface transportation needs of roads, rail, transit, and ports.”

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