The House authorized Wednesday a $5.2 million federal flood-control project to prevent Salt Lake County creeks from turning streets into sandbagged rivers again.
It was one of 25 new U.S. Corps of Engineers projects approved 350-55 in the $2.5 billion Water Resources Development Act of 1990. The House and Senate must work out differences in their versions of the bill - which President Bush has also threatened to veto.Also, no money for the projects actually has been appropriated, even if the projects are authorized in the final bill.
But Rep. Wayne Owens still found reason to celebrate what many officials from other states might consider a pork-barrel project in Utah.
"I've been gently pushing this through the House pipeline for some years now. This is definitely beneficial bacon for Salt Lake County," he said.
"The impact of this funding will be felt for hundreds of years. We certainly won't see any more rivers running down State Street" as happened in 1983.
Owens added that the project - which would require $2.7 million in matching money from Salt Lake County - would increase flood protection for 14,000 people and about 430 commercial and industrial establishments in the flood plains of Mill, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood creeks and the Jordan River.
The committee report attached to the bill said flood-control improvements along the Jordan and its tributaries "have lagged behind growth in development, with flood problems intensifying because of encroachment of flood-plain area and increased runoff from urban and suburban development."
Among facilities planned are enlarging the Hillview Detention Basin to allow it to hold 100 acre-feet of water instead of 16; a debris trap near Highland Drive; and a 7,440-foot-long, 84-inch conduit connecting Mill Creek with the enlarged Hillview basin.
The congressional report said, "This plan would provide about a 100-year level of protection from rain floods from Highland Drive to State Street and would permit passage of snowmelt flood well above the 500-year flood.
"Below State Street the project reduces the 100-year flood flow by about 360 cubic feet per second." The report added Salt Lake County sent a letter supporting the cost-sharing provisions in the plan and that other involved federal agencies also support it.