Thousands of property owners facing the prospect of buying costly flood insurance as a hedge against aging levees could get a reprieve for years under a measure that has advanced in Congress.
The House on Tuesday night overwhelmingly signed off on a bill reauthorizing the debt-ridden federal flood-insurance program for five years.
The bill allows communities required to buy flood insurance because of the findings of new mapping to seek a suspension of that requirement for up to five years while they fix their flood protection systems.
That's the case in southwestern Illinois, where the agency tasked with improving Mississippi River levees says it has a five-year, $161 million plan to get the job done.
Those 74 miles of levees protect a flood plain stretching from Alton south to Columbia.