Lawmakers already concerned over how much La. will pay for recovery following flood

Lawmakers already concerned over how much La. will pay for recovery following flood
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It has been more than a week since floodwaters devastated so many across south Louisiana, but lawmakers are already concerned about how much the state will have to pay to rebuild.

In a special committee meeting Thursday, state senators were briefed on several of the impacts of historic flooding.

As people try to recover, lawmakers heard testimony from several groups, but much of the conversation was focused on FEMA.

Many senators are concerned about response, specifically when things will return to normal for many families and where they will go in the meantime.

Gerry Stolar, a spokesman for FEMA, answered most of the questions and said the agency is working as hard as it can to provide service.

"This is something we're going to spend a lot of time on and really redouble our efforts on it because it was an important lesson learned," Stolar said.

Perhaps the biggest concern for lawmakers is how much the state will be responsible for paying.

"I believe this storm's going to be more expensive than Katrina and Rita," said Sen. Francis Thompson.

Right now, it is projected that the state will be responsible for paying 25 percent of the recovery dollars and the federal government will pick up the remaining 75 percent. Sen. Mike Wallsworth said meeting that will be close to impossible.

"We can't handle that. I mean some of the bigger parishes probably in East Baton Rouge or some of the more wealthier parishes can handle that but rural parishes just can't take a 75/25 split," Wallsworth said.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested instead that the federal government pay 90 percent of the costs and the state only take care of 10 percent. However, there is currently no timeline on when a decision will be made because it is still too early to tell the full extent of the damage.

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