LRA Progress Report Highlights New Construction, Infrastructure Priorities
BATON ROUGE, La., (August 22, 2008) – The Louisiana Recovery Authority has identified the state’s top infrastructure priorities for recovering areas, according to the latest issue of the LRA Progress Report, which was released today.
The report states that repairing and rebuilding education and healthcare facilities, focusing on the needs of first responders and removing marine debris from waterways are paramount to the state’s rebuilding plans.
“As residents return to rebuilt homes, improved public infrastructure will make it possible to rebuild lives,” said Rainwater. “The state must collaborate with FEMA and our other federal partners to rebuild necessary infrastructure for our communities.”
The report also highlights the first of several recently approved Long Term Community Recovery (LTCR) projects in New Orleans, including a program to assist first-time homebuyers, park renovations, planning projects and nearly two dozen repairs to streetscapes, including road and drainage repairs. LRA and Office of Community Development staff worked with the city to approve and fund individual projects.
The LRA allocated $411 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for the city of New Orleans to implement the projects in its LTCR program. $700 million was allocated in total to storm-affected parishes.
Also, the report announces that FEMA Public Assistance payments have now reached more than half of the funds allocated in the program, which funds the rebuilding of roads, bridges and water and sewer plants, as well a government and some private, non-profit organizations’ buildings. As of June 30, 2008, the state has paid out $3.54 billion in Public Assistance funds, more than 51% of the total $6.84 billion obligated to the state. Of those payments, $230 million have come through the state’s Express Pay program, which reduces wait times for reimbursements to seven days from 45 to 60 days.