BATON ROUGE, La. — Many of the projects that are rebuilding Louisiana infrastructure following the August 2016 floods include funding that is above and beyond just repair costs. That extra funding is part of a common-sense approach to build back in ways that can better withstand disaster damage.
In addition to local code upgrades, the state and FEMA have supplemented some repair projects to enhance resiliency and ensure facilities are stronger for generations. The enhancements—funded through FEMA’s Public Assistance program—reduce or eliminate flood damage and lessen disaster effects on Louisiana communities.
The PA program helps to restore facilities to pre-disaster conditions. However, enhanced infrastructure breaks the cycle of damage, lowers potential repair costs and saves local and federal tax dollars.
Construction improvements like elevating, waterproofing or watertight construction items save $4 for every $1 spent.
Below is a sample of state- and FEMA-funded recovery projects that have made Louisiana communities and infrastructure stronger:Hammond High Magnet School received $62,300 to install 30 watertight doors to keep classrooms and the gym dry.A Hand Up Program residential facility in Baton Rouge received $550 to elevate a heating, ventilating and air conditioning unit.The Livingston Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness received $10,300 to construct platforms to elevate supplies.The St. Landry Parish Tourist Information Center received $32,075 to install waterproof doors and walls that do not need to be replaced after a flood and to elevate HVAC units.Vermilion Parish’s Special Education Center Building in Abbeville received $1,000 to elevate HVAC units.
So far, FEMA has provided $1.7 million in additional funds to improve infrastructure to higher standards. The state and FEMA have a long-term commitment to continue developing specifications and costs that strengthen Louisiana communities affected by the August 2016 floods.
Through the PA program, FEMA has reimbursed approximately $479 million to local and state government entities as well as certain private nonprofits for August 2016 flood-related expenses. Eligible reimbursement projects include repairing or replacing disaster-damaged facilities and infrastructure, debris removal and emergency response activities.
The agency typically reimburses 75 percent of eligible expenses. However, the agency will reimburse applicants 90 percent of eligible expenses given the magnitude of the August 2016 floods.