The Daily Item
WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers are working to fund a flood protection project for two of Bloomsburg’s largest employers.
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11; Sen. Boy Casey, D-Pa., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said they are working to secure a $15 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund the project on the town’s west end.
This project would design and construct a flood wall around Autoneum (formerly Rieter Automotive North America) and Windsor Foods, two of Columbia County’s largest employers, the lawmakers said in a joint statement today.
Both of these manufacturers endure damaging flooding when the Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek overflow their banks.
“These jobs are critically important for the people of Columbia County, and for the local and county economy,” Barletta said. “If these companies do not receive flood protection, more than 1,000 direct jobs and thousands of related local jobs would be in jeopardy. I’m pleased to work with Senator Casey and Senator Toomey to stress to the EDA that this $15 million grant will fund a vitally important flood protection project, and that the people of Columbia County desperately need it.”
Casey said: “Flooding can have a long-lasting impact, not only on people’s lives, but on the regional economy as well. This grant will help Bloomsburg families recover, protect jobs and help the local economy, so I urge the EDA to give all due consideration to this proposal.”
Toomey said he has been meeting and talking with local officials in Columbia County about flooding issues since taking office.
“Without flood protection, more than a thousand jobs in Columbia County will be threatened,” Toomey said. “If awarded this grant, it will go a long way towards keeping these jobs in Pennsylvania and protecting the citizens of Columbia County. I hope we can move forward with this project as soon as possible.”
An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.