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Comite Diversion Canal fully funded, project could start soon

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BATON ROUGE - Work on the Comite Diversion Canal could begin soon, now that the project has received federal funding. 

The Comite Diversion Canal Task Force members met Tuesday morning at the Capitol to discuss the project and its timeline.

Thousands of residents' taxes have gone toward this project for more than two decades.

"It's important that we keep an eye on that money, because that will define 2018 and beyond flood protection," said Paul Sawyer, Congressman Garrett Graves Chief of Staff. 

Billions of congressional dollars plan to help fund several state flood mitigation projects, like the Comite Diversion Canal. 

"We have a solution, you don't have to sell your house, you don't have to move out of state, and I want to thank all of you for working on this hand and hand," said State Representative Valerie Hodges.

Hodges sympathizes with taxpayers who've been footing the bill but haven't seen the fruits of their labor.

"I believe that they should know the money that they've been paying in their taxes has not been in vain, that this money is actually going to alleviate another catastrophic event in their lives," said Hodges.

The Village of French Settlement Emergency Management Manager, Lawrence Callender, says he's lived through several historic floods and supports this monumental task. 

"The taxes are for buying the land. That's what it's for: buying the land and getting the right of way, and that's a good thing," said Callender.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the utility relocation phase of the project is expected to be complete in January 2019.

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