Border wall: Trump eyes taking money from California flood projects to pay costs

President Trump is considering taking more than $2 billion already approved by Congress for flood control projects in California to use as funding to build for a border wall, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, told the Los Angeles Times the Army Corps of Engineers presented the project list — including new levees to protect homes, schools and businesses on the San Francisco Bay shoreline in North San Jose — to the President as he headed to Texas on Tuesday to bolster his case for a border wall.

The Army Corps list Garamendi’s office provided to this news organization totals $2.47 billion and includes the following California projects:

American River, Common Features: $1,565,750,000
American River Watershed (Folsom Dam Raise): $216,523,185
Isabella Lake: $258,231,000
Santa Ana River Mainstem: $161,643,000
South San Francisco Shoreline: $177,200,000
Tule River/Lake Success Enlargement (Success Dam): $74,000,000
Yuba River Basin: $13,586,000

The Corps also identified a half-dozen projects in Puerto Rico totaling $2.5 billion:

Rio de La Plata: $500,000,000
Rio Grande de Arecibo: $82,892,000
Rio Grande de Loiza: $250,000,000
Rio Guanajibo at Mayaguez: $60,000,000
Rio Nigua at Salinas: $60,000,000
Rio Puerto Nuevo: $1,552,453,000

The White House press office did not immediately respond to questions about the list.

Further details about the listed projects were not immediately available. The list was a construction account of Long Term Disaster Recovery Investment Plan projects funded under the BiPartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Garamendi, a former California lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner, sits on House Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.

Local officials said they are stunned by the possibility that the money already approved by Congress could somehow be shifted to Trump’s pet project.

Dick Santos, a member of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, noted that the $177 million South Bay Shoreline Project has been in the planning stages for years, and that work has been scheduled to start this summer.

The project would build new levees around Alviso and nearby areas to project the flood-prone communities in major winter storms, and as the bay’s water level continues to rise from climate change.

“That project is vital for Silicon Valley,” Santos said Friday. “It protects the wastewater treatment plant, Levi’s Stadium, medical facilities, schools, tech companies and the homes of thousands of people. We’re trying to avoid becoming another New Orleans after Katrina. This bothers the hell out of me. I will do everything I can to protect that money.”

The prospect of diverting funds from projects for a border wall also didn’t sit well with Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress.

“Our office does not have specifics as to what projects might be affected in our district at this time,” said Parker Williams, communications director for Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale. “Congressman LaMalfa has already expressed concern with this idea, and he believes that any move would need careful consideration before acting on it.”

Democrats have refused Trump’s requested $5.7 billion funding for a border wall, a core campaign pledge that they consider a waste. The resulting standoff with the President, who has refused to sign spending bills without it, has left much of the federal government shuttered for what will become …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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