Parish presidents prioritize three major construction projects at drainage summit
ASCENSION - Five area parish presidents agreed to a unified, regional approach to gain funding and move forward with construction of three major projects at a drainage summit Monday.
The summit, called by Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa, was attended by representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Amite River Basin Commission, the Pontchartrain Levee District, and the offices of Congressman Garret Graves and Senator Bill Cassidy. Additionally, State Senator Eddie Lambert, and State Representatives Johnny Berthelot, Tony Bacala, and Clay Schexnayder.
After discussion, the group decided to prioritize three projects for maximum effect: the Comite River Diversion Canal, the West Shore Levee Protection system, and the clearing and dredging of Bayou Manchac.
Livingston President Layton Ricks expressed frustration with the system designed to mitigate flooding.
“All of the processes in place are flawed,” Ricks said. “Sitting at the table with leaders from neighboring parishes will really make a difference. I’m hoping speaking as a group with one voice works.”
“I understand the frustration and share the concerns of this group. My home was flooded, and I’m not back in it yet,” East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said. “For convening this group. This is a great start and the best way to accomplish our common objectives.”
Mastassa says he will travel to Washington with several other parish presidents to deliver the message to Congress, federal agencies, and President Trump in February.