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US Senate passes bill with Topeka levee funding

Published on -5/22/2013, 10:59 AM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The U.S. Senate has approved a bill that includes funding aimed at improving Topeka's levee system along the Kansas River.

The bill approved in the Senate would provide about $15.7 million in federal matching funds for Topeka to correct problems with its levee system along the river, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://1.usa.gov/1a2EHQy).

Under the measure approved by the Senate last week, the Army Corps of Engineers would pay for 65 percent of the restoration costs if Congress approves the project as part of the Water Resources Development Act. Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran voted in favor of the bill, which still needs to go to the U.S. House and President Barack Obama for approval.

City utility superintendent Don Rankin said Tuesday that the existing levee system doesn't provide the originally authorized level of flood risk management benefits because of levee deficiencies. The proposed project would restore the reliability of the local flood risk management system by correcting the deficiencies, Rankin said.

He said the most recent estimate, made in 2009, indicates the levee improvement project would cost $24.2 million, with the city's share totaling $8.47 million and the Corps of Engineers providing $15.73 million.

City Councilwoman Karen Hiller told the Topeka-Shawnee County Riverfront Authority earlier in May that if the Topeka levee project receives the federal money, the city will put provide its matching funding for the levee project.

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