BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Now that $437 million from Congress has been approved for recovery in Louisiana, the question is "what's next?"
Louisiana's congressmen say they need to act quickly if they want future funding from Congress. The $437 million promised to the state is less than what's needed to fully recover, but in order to get more funding, U.S. Congressman Garret Graves said the state has to come up with a plan to use the existing money now.
"We've got to get these monies out the door as quickly as possible for negotiation purposes to demonstrate the urgency and because there really is an urgency in that people are facing foreclosure and other challenges right now," Graves said.
Graves, along with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, went before the Restore Louisiana Task Force Friday and said they are doing their part, but they need help from local leaders.
"We know we need more than the initial $440 million, but to build our case for that additional dollars, we need more information from state and local officials," Cassidy said.
The information needed includes a complete list of needs, especially those that have come up as the recovery has continued.
"We in the federal delegation need you to list those in kind of details so that we can begin to allocate for that as we go back," Cassidy said.
Nearly two months after the historic flooding in Louisiana, Hurricane Matthew pounded the east coast. As more states will likely go to Congress for their recovery needs, the Louisiana delegation said a more crowded competition for funding may not be a bad thing for the Bayou State.
"You're going to hear a much louder cry for funding, so what that does is I think it makes the ability to get disaster funding a little bit easier," Graves said.
"As long as what is paid to them, we receive commensurate amounts, we'll do pretty well," Cassidy said.
The federal government first needs to sign off on a distribution plan before the state can move forward.