LATHROP, Calif. (AP) — In Lathrop, a small community that mushroomed on a floodplain in California's Central Valley, levee repairs are paving way for thousands more homes.
The repairs are funded largely by $5 billion in state voter-approved flood control bonds.
An AP analysis of the $3 billion spent so far shows the largest expenditures have focused on improving levees in flood-prone areas where development recently occurred and where much more growth is planned.
Critics say this is a poor way to spend flood control dollars, because encouraging new development in floodplains puts more people and property at risk. And higher risk means ever-escalating demands for levee repairs.
State water officials say they have little power over local land use decisions and are spending the bond money to protect existing communities.