On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Shawn Wilson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), to discuss the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal (CRDC). The project, intended to be funded by the Corps, has been delayed since it was first approved in 1992. Following the 2016 floods, Gov. Edwards and members of the Louisiana legislature have met regularly to determine ways to move this project forward.
“For more than two decades, the Comite River Diversion Canal has been tied up in federal bureaucracy while the need to complete it has only grown here in Louisiana,” said Gov. Edwards. “The state of Louisiana has committed a significant amount of financial resources toward the completion of this project, including $4.8 million since I took office. We need the Corps to step in to do their part, and this meeting will hopefully give us the assurances we need advance this project so that residents of this region can begin to see the benefits.”
The estimated remaining federal cost of the CRDC is $125 million, in addition to Louisiana’s commitment of up to $87 million in Priority 1 and Priority 5 Capital Outlay Program. Following the August 2016 flood event, the state of Louisiana requested guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding the use of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds toward this project. FEMA determined that those resources could not be used for a project under construction authorization from the Corps.
In addition to meeting with the Corps, Gov. Edwards and Sec. Wilson will meet with officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), including the acting director of the Federal Highway Administration, Brandye Hendrickson.
Gov. Edwards will return to Louisiana on Monday evening.