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Plan would shift $190M in flood aid from homeowners to canal

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BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the state House are proposing to divert $190 million in Louisiana's congressional disaster recovery money to a flood protection project. The move would strip some aid earmarked for homeowners struggling to recover after last year's flooding.

The House Appropriations Committee added language to next year's budget proposal to allocate the dollars to the Comite River Diversion Canal. The years-old project is aimed at lessening flood risks in parts of East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes.

Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Denham Springs Republican, proposed taking the money from $1.6 billion in federal disaster block grant aid. She says it's the best opportunity to build the canal.

It's unclear if federal officials would agree to divert the dollars. Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration objects to taking the money from homeowners.

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