South KC Perspective
Question 2: Flood Control
By John Sharp
Question 2 would authorize issuing up to $150 million in general obligation bonds for flood control projects, including projects partly funded by federal grants.
Much of the funds from this bond issue will be used as the local match for $565 million in federal funds recently authorized for local flood control projects.
This authorization was part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act which passed Congress last December. Funding for the local projects had strong bipartisan support from Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, and Republican Congressman Sam Graves who both represent parts of Kansas City.
The legislation authorized slightly more than $36.3 million in federal funding to complete the flood wall and levee system along the north bank of the Blue River to protect the Dodson Industrial District around 85th St. from 71 Highway to Prospect. City officials have noted this is the last local flood control project to be eligible for 75% federal funding.
It also authorized a little more than $21 million in federal funding for a levee and flood wall ring with a bridge over adjoining railroad tracks for the nearby Swope Park Industrial Area around 75th Ter. east of Cleveland. This project qualifies for 65% federal funding.
As a former chairman of the City Council Legislative Committee that oversees city lobbying at both the state and federal level, I personally know how long the city has been seeking adequate federal funding to complete urgently needed flood control projects in a highly competitive environment.
Now that much of this long sought funding finally has been authorized, it would sabotage city efforts to secure federal flood control funding for years to come if the city is unable to provide the required matching funds.
Other south Kansas City flood control projects listed as eligible for funding in the Council resolution if question 2 passes are projects to minimize Indian Creek flooding from State Line Rd. to Wornall Rd. and to prevent frequent storm water flooding in the Brookside area.