MILTON, W.Va. — A total of $8 million in state funding for a long-discussed floodwall in a Cabell County town is included in a supplemental appropriation bill, HB 149, that’s moving in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
The total projected cost of the Milton Floodwall project along the Mud River is $143 million.
Last July, $96.2 million in federal funding was allocated for it, but that funding has an expiration date.
At a meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this month, Brian Farkas, executive director of the West Virginia Conservation Agency, said they were told the federal money would be reallocated to other projects if no state funding decision was made by July 31st.
“If the money is allocated, the $8 million (in state money) that you are talking about, we could begin the process of buying the property and obtaining other rights for the construction,” Farkas told lawmakers this week.
Under the current timeline, construction would begin within the next two years with completion projected in five years.
Additional money is needed for that to happen, though.
“You should consider this a down payment,” Farkas said.
A total of 35 percent of the total cost of the floodwall project will have to come from “other sources,” a match for the 65 percent in federal funding.
Much of Milton is in a 27-year floodplain, according to Delegate Daniel Linville (R-Cabell, 16).
In March 1997, he told his colleagues, Milton saw its last “flood of record” which caused $42 million in damages in today’s dollars. Damage was reported to 360 residences, 80 businesses and 20 public buildings, including two schools.
Linville said the new floodwall would put most of Milton into a 250-year floodplain.
“This is a preventative measure,” Linville said. “This is about saving people’s lives. This is about saving people’s livelihoods. This is about economic development.”
As of Tuesday morning, passage in the House for the funding was on track for Wednesday.
House approval would send the $8 million supplemental appropriation next to the state Senate for consideration.