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Funding for flood control projects flows away from hard-hit towns

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The town of Owego saw heavy flooding last fall. A new round of funding for flood control projects is largely bypassing the town, however.

The Cuomo administration announced Monday it will spend $102 million on flood control projects across the state.

But the repairs aren’t necessarily in response to last year’s flooding.

Projects in the Southern Tier, which suffered severe flooding after tropical storms Lee and Irene, will receive $26.7 million.

About half of that - some $13 million - is going to Tompkins County. That’s in spite of reporting just $2 million in costs from September’s flooding.

The $13 million in state funding will be spent repairing a faulty flood control channel in Ithaca.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Owego - one of the towns hardest hit by the September floods. Owego’s project is receiving just $25,000.

That’s because the projects chosen are intended to protect against future flooding, says State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo.

Lupardo, who sits on the Assembly’s environmental conservation committee, says the funding is based on needs documented before last fall’s floods.

“Many of these projects have been on the radar for a very long time,” says Lupardo. “Some were exacerbated by the flood and some have been on a high priority list for a very long time.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released funding for a total of 37 projects in the Southern Tier. The structures - mostly levees and flood walls - are maintained by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The DEC says the repairs will begin in a few months.

WSKG/Southern Tier reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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