Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (32 D California)
(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Congresswomen Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte), Linda T. Sánchez (D-Whittier), and Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) announced they had secured $192.5 million for the Whittier Narrows Dam Safety Project in the FY2021 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
“We are proud to have secured $192.5 million in federal funding for this vital dam safety project, an enormous victory for San Gabriel Valley residents and millions more throughout our region,” Napolitano said. “Since first learning about flood risk concerns over a decade ago, I have encouraged the Army Corps of Engineers and my colleagues in Congress to make Whittier Narrows Dam the top budgetary priority and I am grateful they have listened to our calls. I want to thank Congresswomen Sánchez and Chu for joining me in pursuit of this funding year after year. I also want to express my gratitude to Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur and our esteemed outgoing full Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey for recognizing the importance of Whittier Narrows Dam as one of the most significant flood control projects in the country with the funding to back it. Lastly, I want to thank the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local leaders COL. Julie Balten, Deputy David Van Dorpe, South Pacific Division Commander Brig. Gen. Paul Owen, and the national Corps leadership of Assistant Secretary R.D. James and Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, for their continued efforts to study, design and prepare for this project. We will continue to work with the Corps as construction will soon begin, and we will fight to secure the remaining funds in the coming years.”
“Restoring the Whittier Narrows Dam is a matter of life and death for the communities I represent, including the City of Pico Rivera where the Dam is located. That is why I have worked closely with my colleagues over the past decade to ensure the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the funding it needs to begin this critical project and protect millions of downstream residents and small businesses from catastrophic flooding,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez. “I want to thank Reps. Napolitano and Chu, Senator Feinstein, and appropriators for working with me to ensure construction of the project commences on schedule as part of the omnibus appropriations act. This important milestone will make our communities more resilient in the face of increasingly dangerous and damaging storms. I am grateful to the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for working with community leaders to address logistical concerns as construction gets underway. I am committed to working with the Corps, community leaders, and my colleagues in our Congressional delegation to minimize the construction’s impact on the community as much as possible, while also ensuring continued funding for and timely completion of the project.”
“For years, the Whittier Dam has been suffering from underfunding that has put countless lives and homes along the San Gabriel River at risk,” said Congresswoman Chu. “That is why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rated the dam as having among the highest risk of failure in the whole country. And with climate change bringing greater storms to our area, that risk of breaking was growing. I had the opportunity to examine this dam up close on a tour earlier this year, and I am grateful to the engineers and professionals who are doing their best to maintain it. But they cannot do it alone. That is why I have fought for years to secure the necessary funding to repair this dam, and the $192.5 million in this legislation is a significant step in the right direction. I’m so grateful to the Corps for their hard work and prioritization of this project, to my colleagues Reps. Napolitano and Sánchez for their partnership as we worked for years to secure this funding, and to the House Appropriations Committee for including this important funding. I will continue to advocate for funding for this project until it has been completed.”
Napolitano is the Chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She helped secure this money through her leadership on the Subcommittee and through multiple hearings, meetings, legislation, and letters to the Corps. Napolitano held a Congressional roundtable and tour of Whittier Narrows Dam on March 6, attended by both Sánchez and Chu, as her Subcommittee continued preparations for a biennial Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). At the beginning of 2020, Napolitano, Sánchez, who represents the City of Pico Rivera—where the dam is located—along with several adjacent cities, and Chu spearheaded a letter with other local Representatives to House Appropriators requesting funds for this critical safety repair project at Whittier Narrows Dam.
The FY21 Omnibus Appropriations bill is expected to pass both the House and Senate today, sending it directly to the President’s desk for his signature. The money provided for the Whittier Narrows Dam Safety Project will fund construction through the next 2 years. Reps. Napolitano, Sánchez, and Chu will continue to advocate for the remaining funds in following fiscal years to finish this $385 million project.
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