The flash flood in Pittsburgh that drowned four people, including two children, when a road on which they were driving became a nine-feet deep torrent of water, is a tragic reminder that Pennsyvlania and the nation is investing too little in basic infrastructure on which all our safety rests. It also vividly underlines the importance of storm water regulations that some attack in the name of development and professional land use planning and zoning.
Once a pattern of development puts human beings and property at risk of flooding, one response is to design flood control projects to reduce risks. The Pennsyvlania Department of Environmental Protection had a flood control program that designed and planned flood control projects, but its entire $3.48 million funding was eliminated in the state budget that began on July 1, 2011.
Eliminating this program did not cause the tragedy in Pittsburgh, but it removes a resource that perhaps could have been used to fix the death trap that Washington Boulevard became or other dangerous situations. Eliminating the funding also guarantees some flood control projects that would have happened will not be built or will be delayed.
In the future, that means a flood will cause the avoidable loss of property and life. Eliminating the DEP flood control funding raises risks to public safety all across Pennsylvania. The funding should be restored, because there are many flood control efforts that must be undertaken.
Given the huge need, $3.4 million per year is too little, but it is much better than nothing. Please restore the funding.