Louisiana wins federal approval to spend $1.2B in flood aid


A vehicle sprays water as rain falls in downtown Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, making for cascades of splashed water as traffic drives through. The National Weather Service says minor to moderate flooding is expected from central Mississippi to north Georgia following downpours. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana can soon start spending $1.2 billion in federal cash to fortify communities against future flood risks, after the governor’s office announced Friday that federal officials have approved the state’s plan for the funds.

The dollars, overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will bolster an effort that Gov. John Bel Edwards has pushed since the 2016 floods to use regional approaches to flood mitigation and drainage improvements around Louisiana.

“HUD’s approval of our plan confirms that Louisiana is headed in the right direction,” Edwards said in a statement. “We have taken proactive steps and served as a blueprint for other states preparing their own flood mitigation plans to use these federal funds in ways that prioritize data, science and regional collaboration to build resilience in the face of future flooding.”

The federal aid will be spread across projects in 46 Louisiana parishes identified through the governor’s Louisiana Watershed Initiative as most flood-prone and impacted by water.

Edwards’ office said the state expects the federal dollars to be available by spring.

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