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Al Lawson faces unique pressures in his sprawling North Florida district.

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Al Lawson seeks $116M for Jacksonville flood mitigation

Even as former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown mulls a primary challenge to him, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson filed a bill Thursday that would bring over $100M to projects in Brown’s political base.

The Flood Water Relief Act would make supplemental appropriations for flood control and storm damage reduction projects in Jacksonville, via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

$116,968,000 would be available through fiscal year 2027 for areas that received a major disaster declaration after recent storms, and that money would be used for Corps projects that reduced flooding and storm damage risks.

Florida Politics readers will remember attention Lawson gave to these issues earlier this month.

Lawson wrote a letter to Mick Mulvaney, chairman of the Federal Office of Management and Budget, that outlined the ask: $79 million for 11 flood and storm surge projects, funding for a US Army Corps of Engineers flood study, and $20 million more for flood resiliency efforts in Jacksonville.

The common thread in the projects: these flooding issues are influenced by the St. Johns River, making them eligible for federal funding. Though legislation has yet to be filed, groundwork is being laid.

The extra $7 million would encompass projects that are in Jacksonville, yet outside of Congressional District 5, encompassing any project in the Duval County Local Mitigation Strategy that could be paid for with federal funds.

Among some of the projects this money could go to perform are the following.

The McCoy Creek Drainage Improvement Project, for example, would bring relief to an area that has suffered flooding since well before consolidation of the city and county in 1967. McCoy’s Creek Boulevard — a cut-through for commuters in North Riverside — would be closed. A retention pond would be created. And repetitive loss properties would be eligible for residential relocation.

Hogan’s Creek, another flood-prone tributary of the St. Johns, would see improved conveyance under the Arlington Expressway, and two Regional Stormwater Facilities.

The Moncrief Creek project would abate flooding in the Northside neighborhood, and would offer bank stabilization and a couple of regional stormwater facilities.

Drainage improvements, per the Lawson plan, would be slated for the Emerald Necklace, Dinsmore, and the “Emerald Necklace” area around Hogan’s Creek and Springfield.

Money would also be allocated for the Liberty Street bridge project, as well as replacements for 35 drawbridges on evacuation routes.

Additionally, money would be earmarked for studies of stormwater retention and Jacksonville’s hurricane risk sheltering program.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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