MORGAN CITY, La. -- Nearly $2 million of federal money needed for the completion of the Bayou Chene Flood Protection System has been approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Authority.
“We’re obviously very excited to receive these federal funds, especially in this poor economy,” Hilary Thibodeaux, executive director of the St. Mary Levee District, said Friday.
“These funds will be used for the engineering and design of the Bayou Chene Flood Protection System in an effort to get this project shovel-ready,” he said.
The St. Mary Levee District is a joint applicant for the development authority money along with the Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District.
In a letter written to Pedro Garza, regional director for the commerce department’s Economic Development Administration, U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, said, “While this project is of the utmost importance, the St. Mary Levee District is still paying off the $2 million bill they incurred fighting and rebuilding after the 2011 floods. These costs — combined with the necessary day-to-day costs of the district — make it unable to complete the Bayou Chene project on their own.”
In a statement from the Economic Development Authority, $1.8 million of federal money is approved for a project whose total price tag is $5 million.
“This EDA investment funds the design and engineering of improved flood control in south central Louisiana,” the statement said. “This project will also support business expansion in the region’s oil and gas, shipbuilding, and seafood industries. This project mitigates economic distress caused by frequent flooding in the region, and will lead to increased resiliency and business opportunities in the region.”
Landry said in a statement, “This is a great example of how government should work: local ideas coming forward without being constrained by government red tape for the good of the people. After local and state funding was exhausted, the federal government is providing the last few dollars to make this project a reality.”