A Louisiana authority is seeking federal funds for a coastal protection and flood control project, after spending more than $780 million in state and local funds
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board voted unanimously to petition Congress to grant the Houma area levee project, part of the Morganza to the Gulf hurricane levee system, new start status, which would make the project eligible for federal funding. Federal funds for the coastal flood protection project already have been delayed three times, due to levee standard revisions post-Hurricane Katrina and construction cost changes. $780 million in local and state funds already have been spent or dedicated to the construction of parts of the Morganza to the Gulf hurricane levee system.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, approximately 45% of the Morganza levee system has been completed to first-lift standards, with earthen levees set at 10 ft and floodwalls, surge gates and lock structures at 18 ft. The authority board voted to petition Congress for a fourth time to pay 65% of the construction cost for the Houma area levee. The system stretches in a southern loop from the Larose to Golden Meadow hurricane levee all the way to Gibson.
The Terrabonne Levee and Conservation District began building segments of the levee system after Hurricane Gustav and Ike in 2008. The funding was provided by a sales tax to Terrabonne Parish voters, post-hurricane mitigation grants and state funding. Additionally, the state used appropriations for the BP oil spill to build the Houma Navigation Canal Lock.
“We’ll be in excess of $800 million and still zero appropriations from the U.S. Congress for a federal project protecting over 200,000 people,” said Reginald Dupre, levee district executive director, of the state and local funding contributing to the project.