Local officials to lobby for extreme-weather projects

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 - 8:12 am

Mayor Kevin Johnson and other local officials on Tuesday announced a new campaign that will lobby the state and federal governments to provide more funding to local infrastructure projects that defend cities from extreme weather.

Johnson will serve as the chairman of the national Resilient Communities for America campaign. He is joined by more than 50 mayors and county leaders from around the country.

"There are going to be national disasters that hit our communities and we need to be able to bounce back in real time," the mayor said at City Hall. "Our goal is to be prepared."

The local focus is on upgrading the levees along the Sacramento River in the Natomas basin. Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, who represents North Natomas, said there remains a $390 million funding gap to complete the project.

The 42 miles of levees in Natomas protect 100,000 people, Sacramento International Airport and hundreds of businesses. Ashby said the necessary funding – which is being sought from the federal government – is "a pretty good investment."

Rick Johnson, the executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, said 18 miles of levees have been updated in Natomas, but that Sacramento remains "one of the most at-risk communities for river flooding in the entire nation."

Johnson said he would also lobby for funding to support clean energy projects and power grid investments to help the city adapt to heat waves.

Call The Bee's Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at sacbee.com/citybeat. Follow him on Twitter @ryan_lillis.

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