The Bush administration proposed an additional $2.5 billion for New Orleans levee construction last week. Along with this money, the administration also issued long-awaited construction guidelines for the city that would require rebuilding many heavily damaged houses at least three feet above ground.
The administration’s announcement is an attempt to quiet some fears that have stalled recovery.
”The $2.5 billion proposal, combined with previous efforts, would protect 98 percent of the population in the four-parish region with levees strong enough to meet flood insurance standards,” officials said in Washington Post reports. ”[A]nd would protect them against the extreme event known as the 100-year flood.”
Black college students have mixed feelings about whether or not the $2.5 billion dollars will truly make a direct difference in New Orleans in the near future.
”No, I don’t think the $2.5 billion is going to help New Orleans in the near future because the money that’s already been allocated to the states [affected by the hurricane] hasn’t even been used yet,” said Derrell Sheelor junior pastoral studies major at WashingtonBibleCollege.
”I think all money that is really contributed towards N.O. would help [that is] if the money is going directly to New Orleans because they need all the help they can get,” said Carlett Hervey, freshman communications major at El Camino College in California. ”I also think that building the houses in New Orleans three feet above ground is a really good idea.”
To ensure that houses are protected by the levees, the federal flood guidelines issued last week generally require that houses be rebuilt at least three feet above the ground. Many older houses in low-lying areas could have to be rebuilt even higher, officials said in Washington Post reports.
The federal rebuilding officials offered a new timetable for the reconstruction effort to the Washington Post.
By June 1, or at the start of hurricane season, the Army Corps of Engineers expects to have repaired the levees damaged by Hurricane Katrina. By next year, it expects to have completed construction on those levees that were not damaged by Katrina but have sunk over time and by 2010 to have the levees certified as meeting federal standards on flood insurance.