3rd District could receive $15 million for community projects

The U.S. House recently approved $15 million for projects sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids in the 3rd District.

The projects include $1 million for the University of Kansas Cancer Center, to purchase imaging equipment; $500,000 to start the Upper Turkey Creek Levee project in Merriam; and $1.9 million to purchase equipment for the Automation Engineering Technology Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Other projects approved by the House: $4 million for maintenance on infrastructure on the Fairfax-Jersey Creek Upper Levee, protecting more than 120 businesses from flooding; and $3.4 million for three economic development and green space initiatives in Kansas City, Kansas, including the 6th Street bike and heritage trail, Sumner area green corridor and Klamm Park Trail.

The projects now go to the Senate for approval.

“My job is to advocate for the Third District in Washington, and I’m proud to announce many of our communities’ priorities are one step closer to getting federal funding—from fixing our flood infrastructure to training the next generation of our workforce to bringing cutting edge medical technology here to Kansas City,” Rep. Davids said in a news release. “While the individual projects will benefit from these federal resources, they’ll also help our entire community. Each one will set the foundation for sustainability and economic growth for decades.”

The House passed seven FY2022 appropriations bills, fulfilling Davids’ complete funding request for $1 million to purchase an advanced imaging machine at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. KU Cancer Center serves thousands of patients in Kansas who are battling cancer and holds an international reputation as a leader in the development of cancer drugs. Obtaining this cutting-edge technology with federal funding would not only accelerate cancer research at KU Cancer Center, but also advance healthcare services across the state.

“This cutting-edge technology will help us better understand how cancerous tumors grow and spread and will be a critical tool to monitor tumor response to novel agents developed in our drug discovery program,” said Dr. Roy Jensen, vice chancellor and director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center, in a news release. “The imaging station will not just serve the University of Kansas Cancer Center. It will be available to every scientist at the University of Kansas Medical Center campus and other institutions, elevating our region’s position as a powerhouse of biomedical research excellence.”

The House also passed funding for the first stages of the Upper Turkey Creek Levee project, a longtime priority of the 3rd District and the city of Merriam. Davids’ federal funding request would allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin design and analysis on the project, which will eventually remove Downtown Merriam from the FEMA floodplain, improving safety, encouraging climate resilience, and allowing the city to move forward on long-awaited development efforts.

“I am grateful to Rep. Davids for bringing attention to this project, which has been a priority for Merriam for years and is really critical to our local economy,” said Chris Engel, Merriam city administrator, in the news release. “The risk of flooding prevents reinvestment by existing businesses, has driven away potential new business interest in our downtown area, and threatens residents’ homes. Rep. Davids’ federal funding request would kickstart efforts to move downtown Merriam out of the floodplain entirely, improving safety and attracting development.”

“It’s important to think broadly on the impact of federal funding for flood control projects: we are talking about protecting thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars of investments, and priceless peace of mind for the residents and business owners,” said Tom Kimes, president of Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition (MOARC). “Rep. Davids has been a champion for the Upper Turkey Creek project on the federal level, which would have a significant impact on the Merriam area.”

“The Kansas City District Corps of Engineers has been in partnership with the city of Merriam for a number of years regarding flood risk reduction efforts along Upper Turkey Creek, and we recognize the need for further evaluation in the area,” said Col. Travis Rayfield, USACE-Kansas City District commander. “We look forward to working with the city and other stakeholders to implement solutions that will significantly reduce flood damage and risk to life safety due to flash flooding.”

This year, the House Appropriations Committee created a new opportunity for members of Congress to request federal resources for up to 10 projects with demonstrated community support. Out of hundreds of bipartisan submissions, eight Davids-requested projects were advanced to the Senate. Each project was submitted in tandem with local officials and selected for its potential to improve health and safety in the community, tackle climate change, and bring economic opportunity to the 3rd District:

• $1 million to purchase a VIS/Quantum X2 Ultra-High-Resolution Imaging Station for the University of Kansas Cancer Center, enhancing the state-of-the-art research and treatment facility.
• $500,000 to begin removal of downtown Merriam, Kansas, from the floodplain through the Upper Turkey Creek flood risk management project, allotting the maximum amount for this stage of the project.
• $4.8 million purchase a backup engine generator at WaterOne’s Ralph Wyss Pumping Station, serving over 400,000 customers in Johnson County and improving emergency preparedness.
o Davids toured WaterOne’s Ralph Wyss Pumping Station earlier this month to learn more about the potential generator’s impact.
• $1.9 million to purchase equipment for the Automation Engineering Technology Program at Kansas City Kansas Community College, allowing students to train on real-life automation equipment as they prepare to enter the workforce.
• $4 million to perform needed maintenance on critical infrastructure on the Fairfax Jersey Creek Upper Levee, protecting 120+ businesses in Kansas City, Kansas, from flooding.
• $3.4 million total across three economic development and green space initiatives in Kansas City, Kansas: the 6th St. Bike Blvd. and Heritage Trail Connection, the Sumner Area Green Corridor, and the Klamm Park Trail.

The appropriations bills now advance to the Senate.