The 2009 stimulus package funded millions of dollars for safety improvements for a dam in California (Folsom Dam) that was in “good shape,” but not to the Oroville Dam that is now on the verge of a spillway crisis.
Despite more than a decade of warnings about Oroville, there is no public record of the country’s tallest dam receiving any of the more than $34 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sent to California for infrastructure projects.
The stimulus was originally intended to “shore up the nation’s aging infrastructure,” said former representative Mike Thompson, a Democrat who served California’s 1st District where the Oroville dam is located before being redistricted to the 5th. Instead it went to other numerous stimulus projects, which included $2.2 million for “more attractive” sidewalks and $2.5 million for a 205-acre “zero net energy” community on the University of California Davis campus to put a greater “emphasis on walking” and bicycling.
Gov. Jerry Brown has asked for roughly $162 million for cleanup from flooding, and cost estimates to repair the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway could run as high as $200 million. President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration order for California Tuesday evening, which authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance.
Yet Gov. Brown’s list outlining priority infrastructure projects for the state his office released just last week also included funding for Folsom, but not Oroville.
The emergency evacuation order that affected 188,000 residents was lifted Tuesday, but over 125 construction crews are still working to reinforce the spillways as more rainstorms are forecasted this week.
by Elizabeth Harrington – Washington Free Beacon