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Fort Worth Political Leaders Celebrate Long-Awaited Funding For Flood Control

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Fort Worth political leaders celebrated the now more-certain completion of the Central City project Thursday, January 20, while pointing the finger at politics for the long delay in securing funding for the flood control work.

Rep. Marc Veasey compared the frustration waiting for the $403 million that was announced this week to "watching the sausage be made" in Washington.

Speaking on a video call, he joined Rep. Kay Granger and Fort Worth mayor Mattie Parker to express relief the decades-long project finally has an end in sight after several years of delays.

The funding included in the construction work plan released by the US Army Corps of Engineers came from the infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden last year.

Rep. Granger voted against the bill, but said it was because the legislation had changed significantly as it worked its way through Congress.

"I wasn't against this project," she said. "I was against some of the other parts of that bill."

She also repeated past criticisms that the former head of the Office of Management and Budget under President Trump, Mick Mulvaney, had stopped funding approved projects without reason or notice.

With the funding in place though now, Col. Jonathan Stover with the Army Corps said a contractor can be chosen in the next year, with design work likely needing another year before construction can start.

The initial work will be on valley storage sites along the river that would hold additional water during a flood.

The most recent update on the project to the Tarrant Regional Water District shows that even with the funding, an additional $70 million or more may be needed, which Stover said would likely come from normal requests to finish projects.

While leaders have been careful to refer to the project as flood control, after criticism that economic development interests were driving the idea, Parker acknowledged the development impact that a finished project would have, saying it will double the size of the city's downtown.

"This funding means that the river is now closer to the people," she said. "Really an intersection that we've all dreamed about to bring those levees down."

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