Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mike DeBonis: "Eleanor Holmes Norton suggests feds should pay for Bloomingdale flooding fix"

I have removed a few of the sentences to help keep Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis off my back (but thanks for reporting on it, Mike!)

EleanorHolmes Norton suggests feds should pay for Bloomingdale flooding fix
By Mike DeBonis , Updated: January 23, 2013
More than a month ago, D.C. Water and the city government announced a joint plan to address flash-flooding in the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods. Today, funding for the $40 million plan has yet to be finalized, and now the District`s congressional delegate is proposing that the federal government pick up the tab.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said in a news release that she has sent a letter to President Obama requesting his administration include the $40 million in his next budget request to Congress. The plan would build stormwater storage tanks on the McMillan Sand Filtration Site north of the affected areas, as well as accelerate construction on a long-planned underground storage tunnel there.

Part of the pitch, according to Norton`s release, is that the feds bear some responsibility for the underlying problem: ``The flooding is the result of insufficient capacity in the Northeast Boundary Trunk Sewer (NEBTS), which was constructed by the federal government in the late 1800s,`` according to an excerpt of the letter.  [removed sentence here.]

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Under scenarios previously discussed by officials, the city government would pay for the accelerated flood relief plans, but the situation has been complicated by the city`s debt cap. By law, the District government can`t spend more than 12 percent of its operating budget on debt service, and it is inching up on that limit. One possible solution would have D.C. Water borrow the money but have the city commit to pay the debt service.

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The $40 million price tag presents the cost of the Bloomingdale relief plan above and beyond the costs anticipated in the citywide Clean Rivers Project, estimated to cost $2.6 billion through 2025. [removed sentence here.]

Regardless of who ends up paying, D.C. Water said it is committed to moving forward with the plan and meeting a timeline that would starting giving affected residents meaningful relief by the spring of 2014.  [removed sentence here.]

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