Marco Rubio Wants More Mapping of Urban Flooding to Help Limit Damage

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., backed a proposal to “enhance the mapping of urban flooding to prevent associated damage and assist cities and towns with the tools they need to address flooding at the local level.”

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced the “Flood Mapping Modernization and Homeowner Empowerment Pilot Program Act” with the support of Rubio and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

“Urban flooding frequently occurs outside the regulatory floodplain, and FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) do not always accurately indicate flood risk in these areas, resulting in uncertainty of the hazards at hand,” Rubio’s office noted. “By providing demonstration grants for cities to invest in innovative mapping technologies, the Flood Mapping Modernization and Homeowner Empowerment Pilot Program Act of 2021 allows constituents the opportunity to more accurately assess their flood risks. The legislation also allow them to develop better communication tools, urban design measures, and flood mitigation policies that would put them in a stronger position to protect their communities. Once each pilot program expires, the information gathered and lessons learned would be sent to Congress and FEMA to fully assess each city’s best practices and to apply them to FEMA’s National Flood Mapping Program.”

Durbin and Rubio weighed in on the bill on Wednesday.

“Climate change brings record amounts of rainfall to Illinois year after year,” Durbin said. “Something that is often an afterthought is how increased rainfall effects urban environments, and currently we lack the data needed to develop effective solutions to limit damage. I’m proud to once again introduce this bipartisan bill that provides desperately needed data about flood risk in urban neighborhoods and communities. If we can help local government understand the scope of their problem, then we can better develop solutions.”

“Unfortunately, some flooding in Florida is unavoidable, but we can prepare for, and mitigate against, the amount of damage that floods can bring to our cities and towns,” Rubio said. “New and more accurate flood mapping will help local governments, businesses and homeowners make informed, sustainable decisions on flood insurance.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigey, D-Ill., has introduced the companion measure in the U.S. House.


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