Parish levee projects receive funds
The Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority agreed to use a $300 million surplus in its 2007 budget to provide funding for several coastal restoration and hurricane levee protection projects. Two of those projects will affect St. Charles Parish.
Steve Wilson, president of the Pontchartrain Levee District and a member of the restoration board, says $4 million has been set aside for the Donaldsonville to the Gulf hurricane protection project.
“We also received additional funding, which will allow us to include Montz in the hurricane protection levee system on the East Bank,” Wilson said. “I believe the Corps will have an alignment picked for the levee, which includes Ama at the Jefferson Parish line, by December.”
Incorporating sections of the parish into the levee system by picking the second alignment could force some families to move off Highway 90.
But Wilson says choosing that path could connect all sections to the Donaldsonville to the Gulf project.
“This would place the West Bank inside the federal hurricane protection system,” Wilson said. “Once the levee system is included in the federal system, the parish will be able to get more funding.”
But Wilson says that the Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority must still wait to see what alignment will be picked.
“We know we have the $4 million committed for Donaldsonville to the Gulf,” Wilson said. “Now we must wait and see what alignment is going to be chosen.”
Despite not having a levee, Wilson says taxpayers on the West Bank pay more to the Lafourche Levee District than taxpayers on the East Bank pay to the Pontchartrain Levee District.
“I hear from a lot of people that they're paying more on the West Bank, but there's still no hurricane protection,” Wilson said. “We got our levee approved and did our best to go around structures like homes and businesses.”
Wilson says that is something the Army Corps of Engineers prefers.
“I know they don't like to disrupt someone's home by constructing a levee if they don't have to.”
The 16-member board of the Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority includes one member each from the Pontchartrain, Lafourche and Atchafalaya Levee Districts.
CRPA allotted surplus funds and then chose a list of projects based on criteria the board developed. They received nearly 70 suggestions from the public for the use of the funds.
All were considered when determining the project list.
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