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updated: 1/31/2014 6:59 AM

Durbin lauds flood-insurance bill's Senate passage

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Associated Press

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin says the Senate's passage of a bill that would delay premium hikes for years for buyers of federal flood insurance is good news for areas along the Mississippi River.

Durbin cheered Thursday's advance of the measure that would put off huge premium increases that are supposed to phase in next year under new, updated government flood maps.

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Those maps are of concern in southwestern Illinois from Alton south to Columbia, where the Army Corps of Engineers believes many levies are in need of millions of dollars in upgrades.

Officials in those districts are scrambling to make the fixes to avoid having them downgraded to functionally useless. That would require thousands of homeowners with federally backed mortgages to buy flood insurance.

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