Minneapolis to get $750,000 for new Emergency Operations Center
October 15, 2009 (Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) has secured a $750,000 appropriation for the City of Minneapolis to build a new Emergency Operations Center in a bill approved by the House today. The funds were included in H.R. 2892, the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for FY 2010.
The bill is expected to easily pass the Senate and will be signed into law by President Obama. The current Operations Center was used to coordinate the local, state, and federal emergency response to the August 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis.
"Thirteen people were killed and over 100 people were injured when the 35W Bridge collapsed two years ago," Ellison stated. "We now know that the rapid response of the region’s first responders saved countless lives. One of the key lessons learned from the bridge collapse is that a well-organized emergency response with state of the art equipment can save lives," Ellison said.
"Minneapolis was able to respond so well to the catastrophe of the 35W Bridge collapse because we had invested in emergency preparedness training and technology. Even though our response to the collapse was considered excellent by all accounts, we know that maintaining our ability to respond to disasters requires ongoing preparation and investment. This federal funding for a new emergency operations center will help us to stay prepared and we are very thankful for Rep. Ellison’s efforts to secure this appropriation," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said.
The bridge collapse revealed the shortcomings of the current Emergency Operations Center. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) specifically stated that the present facility is inadequate to meet the needs of future emergency incidents. The $750,000 appropriation will be used to build a new center providing the Twin Cities region with a center that has the necessary space, technology and resources to effectively manage any future emergencies.
"I am proud that the essential funding for Minnesota’s first responders was included in this bill, Ellison said. "I am honored to do all I can to help them in their vital work."
Published Oct. 15, 2009