C.R. leaders push flood protection while trump talks infrastructure
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
President Trump’s $200 billion infrastructure plan includes $50 million for rural states and Cedar Rapids City leaders say that could be a good thing for Iowa.
Mayor Brad Hart and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz were invited to the White House Monday to be at the plans announcement.
It was an opportunity that Hart used remind the Trump administration of the needed funding for Cedar Rapids flood protection.
“It gave us another chance to tell our story and to be in a very small group of people from around the nation who were invited to sit at that table, I thought that was pretty remarkable,” says Hart. “They wouldn't do that if they didn't know about our project and they weren't thinking about our project.”
Pomeranz and Hart remain cautious noting that that funding from this proposal depends on it actually becoming law and Cedar Rapids getting approved.
Hart says discussions indicate that the proposed funding would favor projects that leverage state, local, and private investment. Iowa Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer, who also attended the meeting made it clear that Cedar Rapids fits the bill.
“Cedar Rapids had a terrible flood, they've got a wonderful project, they've had a lot of private dollars ready to be invested and being invested and our new Mayor of Cedar Rapids is here with us today and I know that’s a priority for him,” said Upmeyer in a comment portion of the meeting.
The city already has been approved for about $70 million for flood protection, after the devastation of 2008, but no money has actually been allocated by Congress.
Pomeranz says this proposal may provide another source of funding but they would still need to go through traditional channels.
“It is an opportunity but there’s still a lot of details to be worked out before we even get to that point where Cedar Rapids would apply,” he explains.
Following the meeting Mayor Hart asked the President directly for help in allocating the 70 million of approved flood control funding.
The President replied that he would, “fix that,” according to Hart, and while he admits he doesn’t know exactly what that means, he says he will be following up.