Bobby Jindal, angered over the increased costs that storm-wounded Louisiana must shoulder for construction of hurricane protection levees, asked Washington for more time — and a little fairness.
Under the latest war spending bill, Louisiana must kick in $1.8 billion by 2011 in order to activate $5.8 billion in federal funding needed to strengthen the New Orleans-area levee system.
Jindal said Louisiana’s share for repairs to the 360-mile, federally maintained levee system, is higher post-Katrina, than before the storm. "It seems ridiculous," Jindal said, tersely.
According to this Times Picayune article, Jindal is pressing Bush over Louisiana'a levee costs.
Jindal was quoted as saying,
"We think it's wrong that the state of Louisiana should be required to pay $200 million more in matching dollars than we would have paid (under rules in effect) before Katrina."
The article adds that
President Bush also could issue an executive order to trigger a provision included in the 1986 Water Resources Development Act, which would allow the state to pay back its share of construction costs over 30 years instead of three years, which presents a financial crisis for Louisiana.and that California and Nevada have gotten such deals.
"We’re willing to pay our share; we just want the flexibility that has been offered to other states,”Jindal was quoted as saying in the Advocate.
He also said in effect that Louisiana's having to pay such a large share of these costs would force her to make massive cuts in schools, social services, and coastal restoration.
In the Times Picayune Jindal was quoted as saying,
"We've encouraged people to come back to their homes, to their businesses....It would be irresponsible to ask the people of Louisiana to go through even one additional hurricane season without the protection they've been promised by their government. We will keep our word to the people of Louisiana."According to the Advocate article, Jindal
also issued an ominous warning: “Over the next few years, we as a state have to make generational decisions on areas we want to protect and areas we want to restore.”
He said many federal policymakers have expressed sympathy for Louisiana, which suffered a one-two punch from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, but that sympathy “needs to be translated into legislative action.”
“The administration can administratively give us the time we’re asking for,” Jindal said of President Bush, a fellow Republican. In the alternative, new language could be included in a congressional housing bill before Congress breaks for its August research.
Bush's discriminatory treatment of Louisiana is especially devastating at a time when storm season is heating up with Tropical Storm Dolly poised to enter the Gulf. While forecasters are calling for landfall at the Texas-Mexico border, this is only July. Who knows what the most active months of August and September will bring?
Also, a congressional delegation has been in New Orleans taking a look at the need still present nearly 3 years after Katrina and the federal flood hit.
For U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson, one member of a congressional delegation touring the New Orleans region, a few images from the opening two days made her wonder, "Do we live in America?"
She recalled a large family in St. Bernard Parish living in a FEMA trailer containing a single twin bed, with a bathroom that would cramp just one adult trying to bathe. The family was recently notified by FEMA that it would have to leave the trailer, according to Richardson, a Democrat from California.
Government has to "stop looking at a manual and look at the people," she said.