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Recent Flooding Underscores Need For Drainage Upgrades

Bureau Report: Repairs To New Orleans Drainage System Stalled

Thursday, August 12, 2010

NEW ORLEANS, La. — The flooding across New Orleans on Thursday underscored the need for upgrades to the city’s drainage system.

A report released Wednesday from the Bureau of Governmental Research indicated that the city needs billions to upgrade its badly impaired infrastructure.

Mark Birch said in a heavy rain, he expects to see standing water on his street, and it builds up quickly.

Repairs the drainage system have stalled, according to a report from the Bureau of Governmental

Research that says the city faces steep funding shortfalls when it comes to infrastructure, namely drainage.

The Sewerage and Water Board has $2.3 billion worth of drainage projects planned for the next five years, including work on canals and pumping stations. But the agency is more than $500 million short of what it needs.

The mayor hopes the city can get FENA to pay for some of the infrastructure damages that resulted from Hurricane Katrina. He said he’s also considering using some federal money that has not been dedicated to any projects.

“We do have some leftover money from community development block grants that has not been allocated to specific projects,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Perhaps infrastructure is an important place to put that.”

The report calls conditions of city infrastructure “deplorable, and Theron Dorsey agrees

“The whole thing flooded out, and that happens almost every time you get a hard downpour,” Dorsey said.

To make the fixes, the city would need a wave of additional revenue. Neighbors in Hollygrove said they don’t believe they will see any improvements anytime soon.

The Bureau of Governmental Research suggests the city look into under-assessed properties and unpaid taxes as a way to generate some of the money for infrastructure repairs.

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