WHEREAS, following the new engineering and science data from the levee failures during Hurricane Katrina, cities across America have embarked on a massive national initiative to strengthen their flood control systems based on the state-of-the-art standards; and
WHEREAS, in order to minimize risk to millions of Americans and their property and jobs, cities and their partners are proceeding with levee projects in advance of federal congressional authorization and with the expectation that the non-federal cost share will be significantly higher than in prior decades; and
WHEREAS, advance funding by non-federal partners like cities and states allows for flood protection improvements to be in place far faster, but it depends on an assured, certain crediting of non-federal investments so that the advance expenditures are deducted from future non-federal cost-share requirements; and
WHEREAS, in 2011, the Assistant Secretary of the Army withdrew all crediting for advance flood risk reduction projects under Section 104 of the Water Resources Development Act, resulting in the delay or cancellation of levee projects throughout the nation and dramatically increasing risk to people and property; and
WHEREAS, due to the congressional earmark ban, there is now no procedural path for flood risk reduction projects to be authorized, even after completion of all necessary technical studies, engineering evaluations, alternatives analyses, and recommendation by the Corps,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the President to restore crediting eligibility under Section 104 of the Water Resources Development Act or extend eligibility under Section 221 to cover (1) flood risk management projects which were underway at the time of the 2011 withdrawal by the Assistant Secretary of the Army and (2) projects at milestones earlier than the draft feasibility report, such as completion of the reconnaissance study, and to authorize the Corps of Engineers to grant other exceptions, as appropriate, when in the public interest; and be it further; and
BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to enact legislation authorizing projects for which the Army Corps of Engineers has submitted a favorable Chief’s Report, without the need for a specific earmark appropriation.