A reader has pointed me to an article from today’s Times Picayune paper:
President Bush is expected to shift $1.3 billion away from raising and armoring levees, installing floodgates and building permanent pumping in Southeast Louisiana in order to plug long-anticipated financial shortfalls in other hurricane-protection projects, a move Sen. David Vitter describes as a retreat from the president’s commitment to protect the whole New Orleans area.
Predictably upset by the move is Louisiana Sen. David Vitters who fired off a letter to President Bush:
“I believe your fiscal 2008 budget proposal would be a step back from that commitment, however unintended,” Vitter wrote. “I am deathly afraid that this vital emergency post-Katrina work is now being treated like typical (Army Corps of Engineers) projects that take decades to complete. We will not recover if this happens.”
The long and short of the story appears to be that the money is going to used elsewhere in New Orleans to solve potential problems – certainly not a bad thing. The bad thing is if this shift represents a permanent neglect of the levees. For that to happen, however, will require politicians up and down Pennsylvania Ave. to have faith in their commitments to rebuild New Orleans and to serve the poor.