Businesses and residents of Flagstaff’s Southside have been waiting for years for completion of the Rio de Flag project. Once completed, most of the area will be out of the flood plain, which will facilitate property improvements and redevelopment. The following statement was just released by the congressman’s staff.
U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, D.D.S. sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expressing his strong support for the Rio de Flag flood control project in Flagstaff, AZ. In the letter, Congressman Gosar took issue with the Corps’ failure to complete a Chief’s Report for the project, even though for the last two years, the City of Flagstaff has worked with them to get it completed. The Chief’s Report is an important step that is necessary for inclusion in budgeting.
Over the past months, the Congressman has met with representatives from the Corps of Engineers regarding the Rio de Flag project, and has stressed the project’s importance to the Flagstaff area. Congressman Gosar has likewise met with representatives of the county and the city. It has recently come to his attention that the Administration could be weighing factors, beyond the merit and priority of the individual projects, as it develops the Corps’ work plan.
“Worthy projects deserve the same consideration as any other requested project – regardless of whether they were in the President’s budget or not,” said Gosar. “I am simply requesting the Administration conduct a fair process based on the merit and priority. If that is done, I am confident Rio de Flag flood will be evaluated as one of the most meritorious projects in the country.”
In his letter, Congressman Gosar urged the Corps to not penalize projects that were absent from the President’s FY2011 budget. It is possible the Rio de Flag project could be penalized in the evaluation process and might not receive funding despite being identified as one of the Corps top priorities nationally. In his letter, Congressman Gosar is requesting that this project, and other projects across the country, be evaluated on its merits.
“The City of Flagstaff and the people of my district should not be penalized due to a failure of the bureaucracy,” Gosar continued. “The Administration should ensure the taxpayers’ investment in this project to-date is not wasted, and lives and property in my community are not further put at-risk.”
The Rio de Flag flood control project directly impacts over half of Flagstaff’s population of approximately 65,000 people. A single 100-year flood event could cause over $100 million in economic damages. The Army Corps of Engineers identified Rio de Flag as one of its top priorities and has consistently fought for increased funding for the project. As such, Rio de Flag has received between $1 and $5.486 million for various phases of the project for the last eight fiscal years. Currently, the project is nearly halfway through its construction phase. Congressman Gosar wants to ensure construction of the project continues uninterrupted and a Chief’s Report is finalized so this problem can be averted in the future.
Text of the letter is attached
Dr. Paul Gosar is serving his first term in Congress as the Representative to Arizona’s First Congressional District. As a healthcare provider and small business owner, Gosar is focused on bringing jobs back to the district, reforming health care, reining in government spending and ensuring that his constituents are involved in the solution process. For more information, visit his website at www.gosar.house.gov.