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Louisiana again urges Federal forgiveness of New Orleans post-Katrina infrastructure debt

September 1, 2017

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – This week, Johnny Bradberry, Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities, issued a letter to Louisiana’s congressional delegation once again asking for assistance with the State’s Hurricane Storm Damage and Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS) debt repayment. According to Bradberry, “rather than asking the State to commit $100 million a year for 30 years toward debt service, the federal government should allow us the flexibility to put that money toward coastal infrastructure that will protect the federal investment in the HSDRRS.” This letter follows a CPRA Board resolution from September, 2016 and a previous letter from June, 2017 that identified $21 billion in Coastal Master Plan projects that would benefit over 272,000 acres of land that will add resiliency to the HSDRSS, extend its lifespan, and avoid damages to assets inside the system. The latest letter argues in favor of CPRA’s proposal in light of developing federal interest in investments in infrastructure. “Whether the federal infrastructure program under discussion is $200 billion or $1 trillion it should consider Louisiana’s remaining HSDRR balance as a small first step toward those goals,” wrote Bradberry. Over half of the $3 billion owed is for interest that, if the state had to pay, would “represent a failure to appreciate the scale of the problem faced in coastal Louisiana and the significant impact of Louisiana’s land loss crisis on the nation at large.”