Study: Flood insurance would cost Metro East $50 million

St. Louis – Metro East residents who live near the Mississippi River would have to pay an extra $50 million a year in flood insurance if the federal government de-accredits east side levees.

That's according to a study released Wednesday by the East West Gateway Council of Governments.

Officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency want to mandate flood insurance because the condition of the levees isn't known.

A quarter-cent sales tax that began last year will pay for repairs. But estimates have varied widely, from $120 million to $500 million.

Political leaders say fixing the levees should be the region's priority, not requiring people to buy flood insurance.

And they're still pressing FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to explain why the agencies determined the levees to be unsafe.