What you should know about that $110 Billion for Katrina recovery…

Oyster links to an excellent article by Chris Cooper who co-authored “Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security.” Cooper spoke at the Rising Tide Conference and I highly recommend his book. I also recommend reading all of this article as there is so much there. For example, Cooper addresses the fallacy of that $110 Billion. Recently Bush cited the amount to defend not mentioning Katrina in the SOTU

Well, I gave a speech that I thought was necessary to give. On the
other hand, I had been talking a lot about Katrina and about the fact
that I worked with the Congress to get about $110 billion sent down to
both Mississippi and Louisiana to help them on their reconstruction

Bush has talked a lot about Katrina? When? Where? I am having difficulty finding anything he has said on the subject since the one year anniversary photo op. As for the $110 Billion, read Cooper…

According to the White House, the federal government
has provided $110 billion for the Gulf Coast region. But nowhere near
that amount of actual cash has been made available. The total is spread
over five states and covers damage done by three separate storms. Some
of it consists of loans. A chunk comes from government insurance
payouts that ultimately derived from premiums paid by homeowners

Of $42 billion given to the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, the agency has spent only $25 billion, federal
records show. Most of that went to temporary housing, debris removal
and emergency operations in the early days of the disaster. It has
spent more than $4 billion on administrative costs.

Louisiana says the Army Corps of Engineers has spent
only about $1.3 billion of the $5.8 billion it received to repair the
levees in and around New Orleans. Only about $1.7 billion of the $17
billion received by the Department of Housing and Urban Development has
made its way to the streets, the agency says.

In New Orleans, officials say they have received only
about 14% of the estimated $900 million in reconstruction money they
estimate is needed to fix the ruined city. “We have lots of meetings,”
says Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, the city’s liaison with FEMA.

The state and federal anti-corruption regulations offer a glimpse as to why reconstruction efforts are going so slowly.

The White House has kept in force a set of rules known
as the Stafford Act. Under its guidance, rebuilding funds must be
accompanied by a 10% match from local governments, on the theory that
localities won’t misspend if their money is also on the line.
Similarly, FEMA will cover only 75% of a project’s cost until the job
is complete.

The requirement has delayed projects while cash-strapped towns in two of the U.S.’s poorest states try to rustle up financing.

da po’ boy has more…$110 Billion Reason to Bang My Head