WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced Tuesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to the senators’ request to provide $6.5 million in infrastructure funding to complete a flood management project in Alamogordo, according to a joint press release from Udall and Heinrich’s offices.
In the release, Udall and Heinrich stated they successfully pushed for the Corps to dedicate this funding, which will go toward completing a construction project designed to prepare and protect the city of Alamogordo from flooding, improve safety, and prevent expensive damage to residences, businesses, and public property during severe storms.
In the last three years, Alamogordo has flooded two times, making it an important priority for this disaster funding.
“This important funding will help the city of Alamogordo prepare for future flooding events, make residents and businesses safer, and increase the overall resiliency of the community against flooding,” Udall said. “Alamogordo has faced its share of damaging floods, so I’m glad to have worked to secure funding to help put the city on more secure ground for the future. As a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, I will continue to work to ensure that the Corps funds New Mexico water projects like this to help communities prepare for and minimize the damage from floods.”
During Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, Mayor Richard Boss said the city, back some months ago, made a really strong effort to get these funds.
“I wrote a letter and many of our legislators wrote letters and made phone calls, and that probably has a lot to do with it,” Boss said. “Any time you see one of our legislators, you thank them because they had a part in getting this funding for us. This is a great thing for Alamogordo.”
City Manager Maggie Paluch said it is a huge win for the city to complete the McKinley Channel construction project.
“This project has been going on since the 90s, and so we’re so excited that the entire channel is going to be constructed,” Paluch said. “The additional funding did close the gap for that project allowing for complete construction of that project.”
Heinrich said he is pleased that Alamogordo can now move forward with protecting homes and businesses
“I’m pleased that Alamogordo will receive this critical funding to protect homes and businesses after the floods in recent years,” said Heinrich. “In New Mexico, we know all too well the damage and loss that can result from floods. As climate change drives more extreme weather, including bigger fires and more intense storms, we will need to do even more to prepare for these types of natural disasters. I’m committed to securing federal funding to improve the resiliency of communities across our state.”
Paluch said she is excited about the project possibly going out for bids this year.
“The Army Corps are going to receive bids in September and hopefully award the contract before Oct. 1, the end of their fiscal year,” she said. “The public should be aware this project will not start the construction phase probably until next year. The city’s share of the project is funded in our FY19 city budget. Our share is $3.8 million and the total federal funding available is $17.5 million, which includes the $6.5 million we just got awarded.”
According to the release, Udall and Heinrich worked to authorized the funding as part of the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which provided $17.39 billion in supplemental disaster appropriations to help communities prepare for and recover from recent natural disasters across the country, including those impacted by the 2017 hurricane season.
Specifically, Congress set aside $4.635 billion for preparing for future disasters. Udall and Heinrich successfully pushed the Corps of Engineers to include New Mexico projects in the agency’s spending plan, the release stated.