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Flooding is now the costliest and most frequent natural disaster in our country. It impacts our communities, our commerce, our neighborhoods and our way of life.

The city of La Crosse has become a leader in planning and preparing for floods. From updating our flood maps to creating an affordable fund to help residents with rehabilitation and flood proofing, we are working daily to make sure our city is prepared for the worst.

However, across the country many cities are not able to prioritize flood mitigation programs. That’s why it’s encouraging to see Congress consider a State Flood Mitigation Revolving Loan Fund. It has bipartisan support and would be modeled after the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund that has financed more than $111 billion in water quality projects since 1987.

It would allow communities, homeowners, businesses and nonprofits to apply for funding to elevate and floodproof structures, improve stormwater management, pay for engineering expertise and in some cases relocate properties to lower-risk areas.

These kind of efforts are important because most people can’t simply get a loan from the bank to do this important work. And beyond flood-mitigation, when we create flood-proofed homes it increases property values and provides greater housing and economic stability for our community.

La Crosse has seen the benefits of investing in flood mitigation and it’s time other communities across our country follow suit. But we’ll need support in Congress because flood resiliency requires all partners working together.

Jason Gilman, La Crosse

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Jason Gilman is director of planning and development for the city of La Crosse.

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