NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Gov. John Bell Edwards committed Wednesday to restoring millions of dollars that Louisiana cut from coastal funding a few years ago as its budget was hemorrhaging.
Edwards told a news conference in Baton Rouge he will push lawmakers to restore the $55 million cut during the Bobby Jindal administration.
The announcement came as Edwards announced the state will fund over a quarter-of-a-billion dollars in coastal and flood protection projects over the next three years.
The projects, totaling $256.7 million, range from beach restoration on Grand Isle to “ring” levees surrounding portions of the Slidell and Lafitte areas, and portions of the proposed Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee system for Terrebonne Parish.
“We’re not going to wait on someone else to provide the protection that we all know we need and deserve,” Edwards said.
Edwards said the figure would include $120 million in spending in the current fiscal year and, “allows us to get in front of a hurricane or other natural disaster.”
Other sources of funding, including monies related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill, bring spending on projects in the current fiscal year to over than $700 million.
“Never before in our history have we had so many projects under construction for coastal protection and hurricane protection,” Edwards said.
The majority of the projects Edwards announced Wednesday are funded through Louisiana’s share of offshore oil royalties in federal waters through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA).
The projects Edwards announced include:
- $6.4 million for the 40 Arpent Canal Levee – Lockport Co. Canal to Butch Hill Station (Lafourche Parish)
- $1 million for levee Improvements for Gheens Community (Lafourche) to protect against future storm surge.
- $6.5 million for the Hollywood Canal Closure Structure (Lafourche) to
construct a canal closure structure with 400 c.f.s. pump capacity on the
Hollywood Canal at Prospect St.
- $6M to design and construct approximately 1.5 miles of earthen levee to +10 ft. in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes.
- $1.3 million to construct a water control structure on Little Bayou L’Bleau along the alignment of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf levee system.
- $11M to construct the Rosethorne Tidal Protection Project, a component of the Lafitte Tidal Protection alignment. Phase 1 will construct 1.9 miles of floodwalls/bulkheads/gates to +7.5 ft. Phase 2 will improve 3.5 miles of levee to +8.5 ft.
- $10.3M to restore and protect approximately 1 mile of beach and dune on the western beach of Grand Isle near Caminada Pass.
- $35M to improve pumping capacity for a critical pump station on Bayou Lafourche that will provide freshwater to the marshes in Lafourche Parish.
- $4.5 million for data collection and preliminary design for the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Project in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James Parishes. The project includes a federally authorized Hurricane Protection Levee system to provide flood risk reduction to homes and business within the protected project area.
- $75 million to construct a permanent floodgate that can be closed on Bayou Chene in Amelia to prevent parts of up to six parishes from experiencing backwater flooding due to the Atchafalaya River.
- $7.5M to relocate drainage canals along a segment of the federal New Orleans to Venice hurricane protection system.
- $3 million for data collection and preliminary engineering and design services for upgrades to the Magnolia Ridge Levee, a component of the Upper Barataria Basin Risk Reduction Project in St. Charles Parish.
- $6.5M for data collection and preliminary engineering and design services for the Davis Pond reach of the Upper Barataria Basin Risk Reduction Project in St. Charles Parish.
- $3.5 million for data collection and preliminary engineering and design services for upgrades to the Sunset reach of the Upper Barataria Basin Risk Reduction Project in St. Charles Parish.
- $9M for a “ring levee” in the Slidell area, to evaluate, design and begin construction of flood control features.
- $2.5M to construct a T-Wall adjoining the Kellog Pump Station in St. Charles Parish to provide closure of the levee system.
- $11.7M to complete the Goose Bayou Penn Levee, a segment of the Lafitte Tidal Protection levee alignment.
- $1.5M to elevate levees to provide 100-year level of protection in the Oakville to LaReusitte area in Plaquemines Parish.
- $57.4M to cash flow the $357.7M HNC Lock Complex project, an ecosystem restoration, salinity control, and flood control project in Terrebonne Parish, and a key component of the Morganza-to-the-Gulf hurricane protection system.
$3.5M to construct a T-Wall along a portion of the Magnolia Ridge Levee alignment in St. Charles Parish to provide closure of the levee system.