BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - $6.7 million dollars has been approved to go toward construction of the Comite River Diversion Canal, U.S. Congressman Garret Graves announced Friday.
Graves' office also announced funding approval for the following projects:
- $500,000 for continued wastewater and environmental improvements in Baton Rouge
- $500,000 for wastewater improvements in Ascension Parish
- $450,000 to complete the justification analysis to deepen the Mississippi River to 50 feet, thereby allowing for larger commercial vessels
- $9 million for continued project construction in the Louisiana Coastal Area (restoration of Coastal Louisiana)
"Prior to my first day in Congress, Comite has been a top priority," Graves said. "Since first serving in the House in 2015, Congress has allocated a total of $20.7 million toward the canal. This amount is grossly insufficient to finish the project, but the $20.7 million since 2015 represents the vast majority of funding for the project in the last 10 years, when funding for the project had essentially dried up. Seeing Comite through to completion is critical to a true, long-term recovery in South Louisiana. Until we address the flood protection problem, lives and property remain at risk."
Graves said that with this latest funding stream, the state of Louisiana now has the means to complete the project. "Any combination of $20 million in federal appropriations, $87 million capital outlay, $1.7 billion in CDBG-DR, $252 million in hazard mitigation funds, and $14 million in Amite River Basin Commission funds can very easily comprise a financing strategy that could lead to the project's completion within three-to-four years. The state has the ability to access nearly $2 billion of federal money – it's time to come together now and finish the job taxpayers have been paying for."