Graves, Edwards, Broome meet to discuss funding match for federal drainage dollars
BATON ROUGE - Monday morning East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, Governor John Bel Edwards, and Congressman Garret Graves met to discuss local funding needed to match federal dollars to fund a drainage project.
Last year, $255 million in federal funding was secured from the Army Corps of Engineers for East Baton Rouge Parish flood control. The project, which dates back decades, was never funded until July of 2018. That money would clear, widen, and deepen Blackwater Bayou, Jones Creek, Beaver Bayou, Bayou Fountain, and Ward's Creek.
Over the last year, the money has been sitting there waiting, until a local match can be made. The project is on hold because neither the state or City-Parish has been able to put up the local match of $65 million, some of which would be paid upfront and the rest paid back over a 30-year period when the project is completed.
This is not the first time these three have met to talk about this topic. At Press Club Monday, Graves said a deadline to secure those federal dollars could be approaching soon.
"We received word on Friday from the Corps of Engineers that these funds are at risk, we knew it was coming," said Graves. "We have a $100 billion backlog in Corps of Engineer project authorizations across the country, I assure you there are people that want our $255 million."
Graves says the meeting was very open but alluded to a few curve balls that they're working around.
"I'm going to do everything I can to prevent those funds from being lost, I want to be clear that we're doing everything we can," he said.
The City-Parish said Monday regarding the funding match, a statement will be coming soon.