Congress will withhold $5.8 billion in New Orleans flood-defense funding because Louisiana has not offered the $1.8 billion match necessary to trigger federal funds. The Army Corps of Engineers will not go through with levee and other construction projects necessary to prevent another Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the nation, wants the feds to give the state 30 years to pay their share. Right now Congress wants the money by 2010. Louisiana officials want President Bush to extend the spending limits putting pressure on Congress. The state's US Senator Mary Landrieu says the restrictions "flies in the face" of Bush's promise to rebuild New Orleans. Others say that the state's $600 million budget surplus means Louisiana could pay its way if it needed to.
Should a squabble over money delay crucial projects like the planned $695 million storm surge barrier? Up until now, all Americans have been helping pay for New Orleans' flood preparation. Is it time for the local government to chip in?