$1.2 billion in federal grant money could help stalled Louisiana flood prevention projects

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The federal government allocated an additional $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding to Louisiana for hazard mitigation projects in parishes that were impacted by the 2016 floods, Gov. John Bel Edwards and U.S. Rep. Garret Graves announced Thursday.

Edwards and Graves said this could help a number of flood risk reduction projects, but the state is waiting on full details from the federal government regarding how the funds can be spent.

“This new investment from HUD is critically important to our rebuilding efforts,” Edwards said. “It will allow us to make investments in flood risk reduction and infrastructure projects in areas of our state that were devastated by the 206 floods, including partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers to make investments in large-scale projects such as the Comite River Diversion Canal.” 

The governor said, once he has the full details from the federal government, the state will work with stakeholders and local governments to determine what projects to fund to then outline a plan to HUD.

“I appreciate the congressional delegation’s continued efforts on our flood recovery, and I am confident these resources will be used to strengthen our communities against future disasters,” Edwards said.

This is one of the largest flood protection, mitigation and resiliency disaster appropriations made to the state of Louisiana in history, according to Graves. This allocation brings the sum of federal recovery dollars in Louisiana to more than 10 billion dollars.

“These dollars will be used as part of an overall solution for Comite – a solution that will include US Army Corps of Engineers money – but will also give Louisiana flexibility to directly take the lead on implementing and completing projects instead of being held hostage by the bureaucracy of the Corps,” Graves said.

Graves also said the funding can be used to clear the debris in bayous, ditches and other drainage waterways in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension and other vulnerable areas. He said this could help further protect families and businesses. 

“It’s time to stop expecting people to just rebuild every time there’s a flood – we have to make our communities stronger,” Graves said.

Graves said he is going to continue working with HUD and he’s urging them to move as quickly as possible to make the money available, so the state can begin using it to provide better flood protection to the people of Louisiana.  

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