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Congress Won't Pay For New Orleans' Levees Until State Pays

Congress Won't Pay For New Orleans' Levees Until State Pays

Congress will withhold $5.8 billion in New Orleans flood-defense funding because Louisiana has not offered the $1.8 billion match necessary to trigger federal funds. The Army Corps of Engineers will not go through with levee and other construction projects necessary to prevent another Hurricane Katrina.

Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the nation, wants the feds to give the state 30 years to pay their share. Right now Congress wants the money by 2010. Louisiana officials want President Bush to extend the spending limits putting pressure on Congress. The state's US Senator Mary Landrieu says the restrictions "flies in the face" of Bush's promise to rebuild New Orleans. Others say that the state's $600 million budget surplus means Louisiana could pay its way if it needed to.

Should a squabble over money delay crucial projects like the planned $695 million storm surge barrier? Up until now, all Americans have been helping pay for New Orleans' flood preparation. Is it time for the local government to chip in?

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Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
I agree with everything UNDAVE said.
ladychaos ladychaos 7 years
We can't pay $1.8 billion to save our own people in the south, but we can spend $1 billion daily to send to some stupid war which is making us bankrupt because it is a cover for the Bush family to hike up gas prices to over $4 a gallon. Fuckers.
sweettea sweettea 7 years
I agree that state sovereignty is the bigger issue because here. I also agree that something needs to start happening to prevent a larger catastrophe in the future and the environmental damage needs to be repaired. But the state needs to put up some money as a sign of faith. This squabbling is ridiculous.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 7 years
As usual, I smell a bigger issue here. I believe a big part of the disaster relief trouble immediately after Katrina was caused by the governor's unwillingness to request assistance. (IIRC) If the feds step in unilaterally and start rebuilding, I think that violates the state's sovereignty. (Please pardon if I'm not using the strictly accurate terminology.) On the other hand, I'm disgusted that we can get assistance to Africa or Burma faster than we did to New Orleans.
syako syako 7 years
Sounds good to me.
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
I agree that the levees need to be repaired and updated. I don't want any funds to go through LA. Let's hire construction companies from elsewhere. Keep the money from being funneled through the state gov't and distributed elsewhere.
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
The FEDERAL government sent the money. That money was used elsewhere. Why does the government need to send more money?
syako syako 7 years
I'm not asking them to help people here, I'm asking for some levees, that's it.
syako syako 7 years
I think it's the job of the FEDERAL government to defend it's nation with national defense from foreign invaders and natural disasters.
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
SY - I agree. Who should fit the bill? What about the millions that have already been mismanaged by the LA government? Should we bill LA for the funds they've already lost to other proijects?
syako syako 7 years
There's no reason why the U.S. should have the levees like we do. Look at levee systems in the Netherlands and in Venice and see what we should be doing. Innovation, Technology, Cutting-edge ideas. These things cost a lot, yes, but they also save in the long run the disasters that we've seen. So, what's it going to be? Also, we're not FREAKING mexico, we're a part of this Union too. So don't act like we're some third-world country that can't get our sh!t together. ok? :rant:
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
Money for the levees was spent on other projects in the LA area, under the order of State and city government. Those governments "judged the risk of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane taking a direct path over New Orleans sufficiently low as to permit the money to go to projects that were seemingly more urgent. Obviously, they guessed wrong–with tragic consequences" Their money mismanagement problems should be all of America's problem. When they come up with a way to finance their portion, let's get the levees taken care of.
flutterpie flutterpie 7 years
UD-this isnt about "rebuilding" those levees should of been fixed a long time ago, along with mississippi and california levees. its more of a safety issue than anything else.
flutterpie flutterpie 7 years
Louisiana has long been called one of the most corrupt states in the nation. After the debacle of Katrina, I am stunned that people are even considering rebuilding there. I think that the US government has funded enough of Louisiana's poor decisions, soooo, the citizens of the state should suffer because of their governments poor decisions?
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
Why should the nation shoulder the burden of rebuilding an area while the local government gets rich off its people? Isn't this the same argument we make against sending money to help Mexico?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
This is ridiculous. Start the construction and work out Louisiana's share in the process. Along with rebuilding the levees they need to restore the wetlands which are a natural barrier against Hurricanes.
janneth janneth 7 years
Let the US govt pay for flood defense with the condition that LA use a significant portion of their state surplus on public education, including teacher pay increases.
Sweet-Jane Sweet-Jane 7 years
After Katrina, it's very plausible that LA has a pretty tight budget. They were a poor state to begin with. Now they've lost a tremendous amount of industry and tourism income. It was not soley LA's fault that the levees broke and devastated New Orleans. Those levees were a federal project as well. This is not the time to quibble about who pays for what. We need to get New Orleans rebuilt and prepared for the next hurricane season NOW. Let's be honest, it should have been done years ago. The fact that the Bush administration is trying to do as little as possible, yet again, just reinforces the fact that in November, we need a major change in the White House. Maybe a president who actually cares about the American public would be more willing to come to a compromise with LA and do the right thing.
raciccarone raciccarone 7 years
Yeah, it'll probably be a lot cheaper to re-rebuild the city after the next hurricane. Good plan!
DCRoamer DCRoamer 7 years
Louisiana has long been called one of the most corrupt states in the nation. After the debacle of Katrina, I am stunned that people are even considering rebuilding there. I think that the US government has funded enough of Louisiana's poor decisions, and it is high time that the state be forced to kick in a bit.
flutterpie flutterpie 7 years
shouldnt there be some kind of compromise between 30 years and 2 years? these levees should of been fixed decades ago, it was federal hemming and hawing that prevented it.
stephley stephley 7 years
Yep, let's keep domestic spending down so that we can pay for the war.
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