Task force wants to talk to Congress about slow-moving Comite project
BATON ROUGE- A task force set up to monitor the slow-moving Comite River Diversion Project met for the final time Tuesday.
The group, set up by an act of the legislature last year, has been discussing ways to get the program to move faster. The canal project is years behind schedule and is tied up in a money issue.
There are problems obtaining mitigation credits that will be transferred into federal money to help fund the project. The credit issue, which the task force is working to identify the causes, could jeopardize future progress on the 12-mile canal.
Following Tuesday's meeting, the task for is working to make recommendations about jump-starting the project. A report is due at the end of the week and is expected to include asking members of Louisiana's delegation to congress to help re-write federal laws mandating how mitigation credits are obtained.
There is also discussion about moving $5 million in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers money to the project.
Issues with the project have been highlighted in a series of reports.
State Representative Valarie Hodges' office said she is working to draft legislation for the upcoming session to require the task force to meet for a second year to continue its job of monitoring developments with the canal.
Hodges is expected to try to contact federal lawmakers about assisting with getting things moving.
The project is designed to ease flooding in East Baton Rouge, Ascension and lower Livingston Parish.
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