[StBernard] LRA Chairman Travels to Capitol Hill to Thank Congressional Leaders for their Support of Louisiana R

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Thu Nov 1 22:09:08 EDT 2007

LRA Chairman Travels to Capitol Hill to Thank Congressional Leaders for their Support of Louisiana Recovery, Commitment to Fund the Road Home Shortfall

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) Chairman and President of Xavier University Dr. Norman C. Francis joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and other members of the US House of Representatives for an event on Capitol Hill to highlight key accomplishments of the 110th Congress, including the $6.4 billion Gulf Coast Recovery Package passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this year.

"The 110th Congress delivered on its promise to make Gulf Coast recovery a national priority and took action to address some of the most critical needs of our region," said Francis.

"In May, this Congress waived the requirement that our devastated local governments must pay 10 percent in matching funds for critical infrastructure projects to rebuild our communities. This legislation saved local governments more than $1 billion in Louisiana alone and cut federal red tape for rebuilding projects in half.

"In August, they came back again to check on the progress of our recovery and committed to help Louisiana fill the projected $3.3 billion funding gap for the Road Home.

"These investments give the people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast the hope we need to fight another day and the confidence that the American people's representatives in Washington believe in us, in our futures, in American cities, and in the places we call home.

"Because of their commitment, the Gulf Coast will be rebuilt better, safer, and stronger than it was before."

This event comes just two weeks after Francis, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, New Orleans Recovery Director Ed Blakely, and LRA Executive Director Andy Kopplin concluded a series of successful meetings with key Congressional leaders and Bush administration officials in Washington, DC where they urged swift action to address the Road Home funding shortfall.

To date, the Road Home has received more than 184,000 applications, and more than 66,000 homeowners have received their awards, totaling more than $4.2 billion. At the current rate of grant payouts of 10,000 a month, and at the current average award per grant of $70,000 per homeowner, the Road Home program is projected to exhaust its existing budget just after the first of the year.

To ensure that each and every eligible homeowner receives the grant they need to repair and elevate their home, Louisiana has requested that Congress provide approximately $3.3 billion in additional funding and issue a legislative directive to FEMA allowing the state to effectively utilize $1.17 billion of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds allocated to Louisiana but tied up in red tape for more than a year.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.


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