Today, the Rapides Parish Police Jury voted to assign federal disaster recovery funds (which were subsequently defined as “drainage” funds, though this allocation was never specifically assigned to drainage projects by the Louisiana Recovery Authority) to repair deficiencies along the Red River levees- which is, arguably, the most significant and critical “drainage” project in all of Central Louisiana.
Kudos to the Rapides Parish Police Jury.
If these deficiencies are not properly addressed, 95% of Alexandrians and tens of thousands of Central Louisianans would likely face massive, skyrocketing flood insurance premiums, creating an unbearable burden in a region in which the median household income is nearly half of the national average.
Although the failure to address these issues would disproportionately affect Alexandria, the most densely populated city in our region, all of the deficiencies along federal levees are outside of the Alexandria city limits. Considering the current Republican-endorsed one-year moratorium on earmarks, which was endorsed by our sitting Congressman, and given the timeline of decertification process, I believe it was right and wise to use immediately available federal funds to correct a federal government problem, and I commend those on the Jury who understood the real and pressing need to take action.
Despite what has been reported on other blogs, correcting the deficiencies on federal levees is the most important step we can take, and it is appropriate that we use federal dollars, instead of requiring that the local taxpayers exclusively shoulder the entire burden in order to correct engineering flaws on federal levees.
The alleged deficiencies along non-federal levees within the city limits are not and have never been the real issue. Indeed, there is significant disagreement and debate about whether or not these deficiencies actually exist or if they are merely a symptom of deficiencies on the Red River.
So, again, kudos to the six members of the Police Jury who voted to use federal funds to correct a federal problem. A small victory for common sense.