Arkansas River levee fund heads to Oklahoma Senate

Record flooding causes levee breach in western Arkansas | PBS NewsHour


Legislation creating a revolving fund for an Army Corps of Engineers project to improve the Arkansas River Levees has been passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks, presented House Bill 3288, which he co-authored with newly elected Speaker-Designate Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow. The bill creates the Arkansas River Levee Projects Revolving Fund for eligible levee projects that has or will receive in excess of $100 million in federal matching funds.

“Protecting over $2 billion worth of infrastructure in Sand Springs, West Tulsa and Tulsa County, our citizens and treasure are reliant on the defense of these levees,” Sims said. “Should a failure occur, the state would be responsible for paying 12.5% of the FEMA disaster relief or over four times the current state and local match required to secure these federal funds.”

Originally constructed in 1945, the Tulsa and West Tulsa levee systems consist of over 20 miles of levees, 1,800 relief wells, and seven pump stations. In 2020, $137.4 million in federal dollars were approved but required a state and local match to secure.

“With the historic rise in construction costs since the pandemic, this match requirement is now estimated to be $67 million,” Sims said. “We simply can’t afford to wait any longer to safeguard our future.”

HB3288 passed the House 95-1 and now moves to the Senate, where it is authored by Sen. Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa.

Source: House press release