September 15, 2005

Schwarzenegger seeks fed funds for Calif. levees

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - Warning that
California's capital was unprepared to handle major flooding,
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called on Thursday for more federal
spending on Sacramento's levees.

Schwarzenegger outlined his request for more than $92
million in federally funded projects in letters to Democratic
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Republican U.S. Rep.
Richard Pombo.

"Many parts of our Central Valley have significantly lower
levels of flood protection than similar areas in the nation,"
Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

"To ensure the safety of our people, the well-being of our
communities and the continued vitality of our economy, we need
a comprehensive and sustained plan to protect our Central
Valley and Delta levees."

Although it is far from the coastline along the Pacific
Ocean, low-lying Sacramento is susceptible to flooding because
it lies at the confluence of the Sacramento and American
rivers. The whole Delta region around Sacramento, the capital
of California, and to its south are protected by levees.

The governor's office said the levees around Sacramento
have lower flood protection standards than New Orleans did
before that city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.