August 16, 2018
By: Scott McLendon, HoumaToday.com
The Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District Board approved a resolution requesting the federal government designate and appropriate construction money for the Morganza-to-Gulf levee project.
“After 25 years since the Morganza project began and four years since federal authorization, we are urging the federal government to come to the table and designate this project as a New Start, which will finally provide for some federal funding towards this critical project,” said Tony Alford, levee board president.
Morganza is a 98-mile levee, lock and floodgate system designed to provide 100-year, Category 3 storm protection to about 200,000 residents in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
The project began in 1992, but no federal money has been spent on its construction. To date, about $400 million of state and local money has been dedicated to the project.
“Flood protection is critical to protecting our homes, our businesses and our citizens,” said Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove. “A New Start designation by the Federal Government is critical in order to garner additional funds needed to prevent future floods and protect over 200,000 residents in our region.”
The president says that $200 million of local sales tax revenues has been dedicated to the project. That is in addition to the estimated $80 million the parish has invested in its interior levees.
The passing of this resolution on Wednesday follows a similar one passed by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board. CPRA Chariman Jonny Bradberry said he applauds the levee district and that his board is committed to helping any way it can.
“Our community has passed two local sales taxes dedicated to construction of Morganza, and we have demonstrated our commitment to building our levee protection system now and not wait another 25 years,” said Alford.
Alford hopes the federal government will heed the request so the project can be expedited.
“We commend the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District for their leadership in requesting the resolution from CPRA and for passing this resolution tonight,” Jay Walker, president of the Morganza Action Coalition, said at Wednesday’s levee board meeting.
Walker said the parish and levee district have worked diligently to build the project and believes it is time for the federal government to step up and become a partner to pay its fair share toward construction.