Lawmakers kill plan to divert flood aid to diversion canal
BATON ROUGE – State lawmakers in the House of Representatives shot down a funding mechanism for the Comite River Diversion Canal Thursday morning.
Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee added language to next year’s budget to allocate congressional disaster recovery money to the project. Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Denham Springs Republican, made the proposal that would divert $190 million from aid earmarked to homeowners struggling to recover after last year’s floods.
The Governor’s Office said the proposal would mean that 4,000 homeowners across Louisiana would not receive funding if the proposal passed. Hodges said there are other areas in the state plan to divert aid, including from funds meant for business and agriculture planning.
“I don’t want to take money from homeowners. There are other areas to take it from,” Hodges said.
Wednesday, an amendment by Rep. Pat Smith restored the $190 million to the federal flood relief program. Smith called the proposal “totally unfair.”
“We need to look at how people are trying to get back in their homes,” Smith said.
Hodges argued that those same residents would flood again.
“We have to think about the future,” Hodges said.