[StBernard] Landrieu to Bush: Use Your Authority to Give La. Flexibility on Levee Costs

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Sat Jun 28 00:01:50 EDT 2008

Landrieu to Bush: Use Your Authority to Give La. Flexibility on Levee Costs

WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today asked
President Bush to give Louisiana 30 years to pay back the $1.5 billion
cost-share required of the state in the Supplemental spending bill for Iraq
and Afghanistan that Congress sent to the President yesterday. Included in
the bill is $5.8 billion to rebuild the federal levees that failed in 2005,
but the flexibility to allow the state 30 years to pay back the cost-share
was stripped out by the House of Representatives after being secured by Sen.
Landrieu in the originally passed version.

"Without long-term financing, Louisiana will face an unprecedented challenge
in meeting the requirements of the non-federal cost-share," Sen. Landrieu
wrote in the letter to President Bush today. "Notably, the State may have to
dedicate up to one-third of its discretionary budget toward this expenses,
crippling ongoing recovery efforts. The extraordinary increase to
Louisiana's historical cost-share, paid on a compressed time frame, flies in
the face of the federal government's commitment to restore South Louisiana
after the failures of the federal system."

Sen. Landrieu pointed out in the letter that the administration has the
authority under the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 to give the
state up to 30 years from the date of completion of a project to repay the
federal government.

"Given the authority under existing law and the dramatic implications of
failing to provide a long-term financing option, I urge you to direct the
Corps to execute a financing plan that is agreeable to the State of
Louisiana," Sen. Landrieu wrote.

Sen. Landrieu also wrote that she would work to reduce Louisiana's
cost-share from the unprecedented level that the President had proposed to
the more reasonable share of $1.3 billion that the Senate had originally
passed in keeping with existing agreements between the state and federal

A full copy of the letter to President Bush is available here:


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