UPDATE 5/22/2014 12:25 a.m.
The U.S. Senate approved H.R. 3080, or the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, Thursday morning, now the bill heads to the President's desk.
“Today’s vote is a major victory for the people of Natomas and all of Sacramento... This important legislation includes authorization of the Natomas Levee Improvement Project, as well as much needed reforms to the Army Corps’ vegetation on levee and crediting policies,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui, in a press release.
Sentator Barbara Boxer also praised the passage of legislation, releasing this statement: "I am so proud of the overwhelming bipartisan vote in both the Senate and the House to pass this strong water infrastructure bill today. Our bill invests in vital water infrastructure that protects communities from flooding, maintains navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods, restores vital ecosystems and provides a boost to our economy by creating jobs."
Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Natomas levee construction and repair, in a 412-to-4 vote.
Democratic Representative Doris Matsui worked for years on the legislation.
Part of the delay was a House prohibition against spending for specific projects called "earmarks." Matsui says it took a bipartisan effort in the divided House to reach a deal that's critical to a large part of Sacramento.
The legislation must still be approved by the Senate before it can head to the President.
“The area to be protected by the project is home to over 100,000 people, two interstate highways, an international airport, dozens of schools and hundreds of small businesses," says Matsui. "If a levee broke the damage would be similar to that experienced in New Orleans. This project is critical for Sacramento and my constituents have waited too long for this day to come.”
A video explaining the bill from Chairman Bill Shuster.
Capital Public Radio staff contributed to this story.
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