Friday, July 17, 2009

Over 10.5 million for local projects

This afternoon the U.S. House of Representatives approved The Energy and Water Appropriations Act (H.R. 3183) appropriating funding for a series of regional flood control projects I requested. The bill also invests in new technologies that will create the next generation of vehicles with improved fuel efficiency, better and cleaner engines and longer-lasting batteries. It also helps modernize our electric grid by investing in “smart grid” technology which we are seeking to pilot with Kansas City Power & Light as part of the Green Impact Zone project.

The bill increases funds for weatherization grants to help struggling families improve their homes’ energy efficiency and save hundreds of dollars annually in electricity and heating costs. It also invests in the water infrastructure needs of our communities to improve water quality and spur economic development after years of neglect. These funds will be particularly valuable in accomplishing the goal of weatherizing every home in the Green Impact Zone.

I am proud of the funding I was able to secure for Missouri’s Fifth District in this bill. Not only does the bill make significant investments in a new green economy and support our work locally in the Green Impact Zone, it also funds important flood control projects. I was Mayor of Kansas City during the Flood of 1993 and understand very well that funding our area’s flood control plans and systems is key to protecting life and property. These are earmarks that save lives, and build on projects I have secured funding for in previous years. I think it is clear these levee, basin and channel improvement projects will continue to significantly reduce our major flood events in the District.

H.R. 3183 provides:

Authorization to the U.S. Corps of engineers to fund the Blue Valley Wetlands Restoration - Jackson County (amount to be determined after study)

$2,500,000 for the Turkey Creek Basin - City of Kansas City ($15.2 million in Recovery Act dollars also allocated)

$5,600,000 for the Blue River Channel - City of Kansas City/Independence ($13.5 in Recovery Act dollars also allocated)

$750,000 for the Blue River Basin - City of Kansas City

$700,000 for the Kansas Citys, MO & KS (Seven River Levees) - City of Kansas City

$300,000 for the Brush Creek Basin, MO & KS – City of Kansas City

$700,000 Missouri River Degradation, MO & KS – City of Kansas City

The Energy and Water Appropriations Act builds on the investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to move toward American energy independence and rebuild our infrastructure – major tenets of the long term economic plan that President Obama laid out and this Congress approved.

H.R. 3183, which was approved in the House by a vote of 320 to 97, now moves to the Senate for approval.