WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 -- The office of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, issued the following news release:
U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) along with Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) today sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, once again stressing the need to secure funding for the Blanchard River Flood Risk Management Project (BRFRMP) in the 2014 work plan.
"The Blanchard River region is primed for growth, but it won't be able to reach its full potential as long as the threat of flooding remains," said Portman. "In the end, this Project is about improving people's lives and the vitality of the communities it will protect. I will continue to fight for its completion."
"The Blanchard River Flood Risk Management Project will help spur economic growth and protect the Findlay and Ottawa communities from devastating disasters," said Brown. "But for this to happen, the U.S. Army Corps must commit the funds necessary for the project's completion. Until this happens, my colleagues and I will continue this fight on behalf of Northwest Ohio's citizens."
"The Blanchard River flooding risks are both a safety and economic concern that directly impacts Ohio'sFifth Congressional District and all interested stakeholders," said Congressman Latta. "The BRFRMP is critical for Northwest Ohio's economic future, and while I am encouraged by the USACE's response to date, it is imperative that it allocate the necessary remaining funds to ensure this portion of the project is completed."
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-76) provided a 10 percent funding increase for the USACE, including $8 million in unallocated funds for flood control projects, as well as $3.6 million for general flood and storm damage reduction projects. The letter notes that these additional funds are supposed to support flood control studies, particularly those that lead to significant economic benefits by avoiding damages caused by flooding - projects like the BRFRMP. Finally, the letter recognizes the USACE's efforts to advance the BRFRMP to date, urges it to consider the economic development this project will have on the City of Findlay and Village of Ottawa, and requests the Corps include the BRFRMP in its 2014 work plan.
Portman, Brown and Latta have teamed up multiple times to ensure funding for the BRFRMP. In January 2014, they sent a letter to the USACE urging it to follow the recommendations of the bipartisan Senate-House appropriations bill that would benefit the BRFRMP. In October 2013, they urged the USACE to include funding for the project for the 2014 and 2015 Fiscal Years. In July 2013, they continued to put pressure on the USACE to reprogram 2013 Fiscal Year funds toward the project.