After years of political gridlock, federal money for flood-control work on the Santa Ana River now appears assured.
On Wednesday, Reps. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad) and Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) announced that a congressional House-Senate conference committee had approved a public works bill that contains $822 million to control the Santa Ana River.
James McConnell, Orange County lobbyist in Washington, predicted that the full House of Representatives and Senate would approve the conference committee's bill before Congress adjourns in November. McConnell also said he is sure that President Reagan will sign the bill into law.
The money would be used to build lock, dam, port and flood-control projects on the Santa Ana River, which is considered the worst potential flood threat west of the Mississippi. The money for the proposed work is intended to provide protection against a flood of the magnitude that occurs about once every 170 years along the 90-mile river.
The $822 million in federal funds would be matched by $268 million in state and local money, officials said.