It’s never a great confidence booster when the city of Cedar Rapids is fronting the federal government money.
That is the case, though, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers feasibility study of Cedar Rapids’ flood-protection needs. The two-year study now is expected to cost $7.5 million, up a couple million dollars from previous estimates.
The Corps has not yet secured funding for its share of the study’s cost, and so the City Council has agreed to accelerate funding to the Corps so the study can proceed until federal funds are available.
The Corps study is a prerequisite for the city to qualify for federal funding to actually pay to build a new flood-protection system, the cost of which might reach $1 billion.
The city has the burden to pay for 50 percent of the cost of the Corps study. The city, though, will get credit for an estimated $1.875 million of the study’s cost for in-kind services. It also has received a $300,000 grant to help with the city’s cost share.
The increased cost of the study comes in part because of the increased area being studied.
Initially, in May 2008, the city and the Corps had expected the Corps study to cost $1.4 million and to focus primarily on the Time Check Neighborhood. The city’s disastrous flood hit the next month and changed everything.
City Manager Jim Prosser this week said the city continues to lobby Iowa’s Congressional delegation to position the city to obtain Congressional funding quickly to actually build the flood-protection system once the Corps study is finished.
The Corps has said it might take eight to 15 years to get the system of levees and floodwalls in place, but Prosser said the hope is to cut that time down significantly.