Local levee funding case is strong

The bill for the local levee project needed to get the required recertification for the dike is estimated at between $13.6 million and $16 million.

Despite multiple public and private entities contributing money toward the project, a substantial financing gap remains for the necessary work.

With a July 26 deadline looming for a final grant application through the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Lycoming County Commissioners took their case to Washington in search of $4.2 million in federal assistance.

The hope is that elected officials who represent our area — U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, a Republican from Kreamer, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Scranton, and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Zionsville — can be personally convinced to take up the torch for financing the work.

The dike levee upgrade is on the project list of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a key step in recognizing the need for the work. And every facet of the work has been planned and is ready to begin. The only thing missing is a final, financial piece.

The county already has made a pre-approval request to apply for the grant and been told, according to Commissioner Jack McKernan, “you’ve got your act together.”

A large portion of the money would go to the I-wall portion of the levee that runs alongside Lycoming Creek near Bowman Field.

That is a lot more specific use of much-needed funding than the countless nebulous projects for research and other boondoggles that cost millions of dollars and are approved annually in Washington D.C.

The municipalities, county and a number of private groups have done their share to pay to keep the dike functioning as its best prevention against the flooding that is a chronic threat to our area’s survival.

The project is about as nonpartisan as it gets. Floods don’t care much about political stripes or individual economic need. They cripple everyone.

Our elected officials have an opportunity to represent our area in the best possible way by getting the funding for the dike levee recertification project.