BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Over $2.5 billion is coming from the federal government to fund flooding and hurricane protection projects across the state. This is on top of the one billion recently announced for bridge repairs.
One vital project is 98 miles of levees, flood gates, and other protections in the Morganza to the Gulf Army Corp of Engineers project. It is allocated $379 million through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“Our communities have waited years, sometimes decades, to see progress on Army Corp projects. This funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill is crucial to protect our state against future flooding and hurricane events,” Sen. Bill Cassidy said.
These protections will help hold off flooding in future hurricanes in the area where Hurricane Ida made a direct hit at landfall.
“The federal government has been largely on the sidelines for this project. We finally broke the log jam last year and we’re able to get the first year ever of construction funds and now we’re seeing larger dollars come in,” Rep. Garret Graves said.
A federal, state and local partnership was made to kick off the construction of this project to oversee its creation in Louisiana’s fragile marshlands. The Project Partnership Agreement outlines how the different entities will contribute to the construction of the project.
“Today’s signing of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) is a significant step forward for Morganza-to-the-Gulf, which will provide critical flood protection for thousands of families and businesses in south Louisiana and protect billions of dollars in economic activity. Today’s announcement builds off the efforts we’ve taken to secure New Start eligibility for Morganza, which allowed the project to finally receive federal funding for the first time in 2021. This is great news for our region, and I will continue fighting for federal funding for Morganza,” Rep. Steve Scalise said.
This wave of funds is also going to a number of other protection projects such as reducing flooding along Hwy 90.
“That road that is a major four-lane U.S. highway was underwater even before Hurricane Ida made landfall. You couldn’t pass it in some of the areas,” Rep. Graves said. “What this project does is it actually provides a barrier of hurricane protection for these communities.”
Sen. Cassidy, one of the authors of the Act, said this is just the first chance at the money. There will be more opportunities to invest in coastal restoration of barrier islands and marshes.
New top investments include:
- Comite Diversion flood protection: $128 million (funds total exceeds $500 million): East Baton Rouge, Livingston and Ascension
- Morganza to the Gulf hurricane protection: $379 million: Terrebonne and Lafourche
- West Shore hurricane protection: $453 million (funds total exceeds $1.2 billion): St. John the Baptist, St. Charles and St. James
- Upper Barataria Basin hurricane protection: $8 million for engineering and design: St. Charles, St. John, St. James, Jefferson, Ascension, Lafourche and Assumption
- Mississippi River levees, dikes and revetment projects: $440 million
- Atchafalaya Basin: $173 million for waterflow, dredging, floodgate and others
- Mississippi River dredging: $42 million
- Atchafalaya River dredging: $33 million
- Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity hurricane protection: $5 million
- St. Charles, Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard Angola Ring Levee: $743,000
- Ascension and East Baton Rouge sewer investments: $4.25 million
Some of the funds from the supplemental disaster bill are rolling in to help pick up the pieces from Hurricanes Ida, Laura, and Delta.
“This disaster aid is critical in rebuilding after Ida and there is more to do,” Sen. Cassidy said.
Other funded projects through the supplemental aid bill include:
- Grand Isle: $3,798,000
- Tangipahoa Parish Flood Risk Management Study: $3.2 million: Operations and Maintenance Funding for Dredging
- Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: $23.588 million
- Bayou Segnette: $3.51 million
- Barataria Bay Waterway: $5.16 million
- Bayou Bodcau Reservoir: $2.75 million
- Freshwater Bayou: $8.075 million
- J. Bennett Johnston Waterway: $803,000
- Mermentau River: $12.674 million
- Wallace Lake: $2.3 million
- Old River: $7 million
- Tensas River, Red River Backwater: $5.5 million
- Mississippi Delta Region, Louisiana: $95,000
- New Orleans to Venice Hurricane Protection: $783 million
- Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Damage Reduction: $94.3 million
- West Bank and Vicinity: $743,000
Congressmen Graves said multiple projects did not make it onto the list for funding this time but he is continuing to work to get them funded.