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US Senate passes key legislation that would make Missouri more resilient to flooding

  

Bipartisan infrastructure bill includes funding, policies to strengthen transportation, communities for when waters rise

St. Louis, Mo. — With flooding events becoming more intense and frequent, including Missouri’s nearly annual flooding issues, the U.S. Senate recently took action to lessen the economic and recovery impacts of these disasters by passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The legislation, which now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration, makes a landmark commitment to improving the ability of the nation’s infrastructure, such as its roads and bridges, to withstand flooding while also supporting state and community programs designed to improve local resilience.

“With the cost of flooding continuing to grow both in Missouri and across the nation, this legislation provides unprecedented funding and guidance for communities like ours could use to limit the impacts of future events,” said Susan Liley, president of Citizens Committee for Flood Relief. “Whether it’s building roads and bridges that are less susceptible to flooding or buying out repeatedly flooded properties, local residents will be safer and our businesses more secure.”

Key provisions in the legislation that would help limit the impacts from flooding include:

  • Devoting $8.7 billion for a first-of-its-kind transportation resilience grant program to support state and community actions that reduce the vulnerability of roads, bridges, and other transportation assets to natural disasters
  • Establishing incentives for states and metropolitan planning organizations to address future risk in long-term transportation plans
  • Ensuring the consideration of nature-based solutions for improving resilience to flood-related disasters
  • Infusing $4.5 billion in FEMA disaster mitigation programs to support local efforts to address flooding, such as buying out flood-prone properties

According to Forbes Tompkins, manager of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Flood-Prepared Communities program, in an analysis of the bill’s flood resilience measures, “The resilience measures included in the bipartisan bill can make significant strides toward better preparing communities and infrastructure for these threats by weaving disaster mitigation into the foundation of new and existing federal programs.”