Some $350 million is currently being planned for use in protecting coastal areas in southeastern Louisiana which has been in the planning stage for nearly half a century. Nearly $300 million of that amount is from a federal revenue source which is called the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. The remaining $55 million, including dollars from the long-delayed $760 million West Shore Lake Pontchartrain hurricane protection project, reportedly is state surplus money that requires legislative approval.
Officials announced recently that they hope to finish that levee system by the year 2023 with federal funds filling out 65 percent of the total price tag. The governor reportedly wants to use $30 million of the $55 million in surplus dollars for the West Shore project
Chip Kline, who was named by the governor as executive assistant for coastal activities, said the work was authorized for study in 1971 “and the hard working people of the area have been waiting to see progress ever since.
“When the federal government recently made the full cost to construct the project available to the U. S. Army Corps, we were determined to meet the state’s obligation on the land side as quickly as possible in order to keep this project on schedule so we can better protect the people of this region,” Kline continued.
The work envisioned includes a levee system on the east bank of the Mississippi River from the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway in St. Charles Parish to the Hope Canal in St. John the Baptist Parish. Edwards reportedly proposed using the rest of the surplus dollars to restore some $15 million previously used by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration and $10 million for ongoing coastal restoration projects.
The federal dollars will be used over a three-year period.