Bill could free parish funds

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vidalia &8212; When he opened his new dealership three miles east of his old one on US 84, William Pugh of Lakeside Ford said the only thing missing was a turn lane so people could get to his business easier.

&8220;After Hurricane Katrina, the state put that little project on hold to help concentrate its funds on New Orleans,&8221; Pugh said.

Funding for projects in Concordia Parish and other parts of Louisiana could become more readily available if Senator Mary Landrieu&8217;s bill passes through Congress.

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Stephanie Allen, press secretary for Sen. Landrieu,

said if the

Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, S-3711, passes through Congress, it would fund the restoration of New Orleans and other areas affected by hurricane&8217;s Katrina and Rita, leaving more money for other parishes to use for their own projects.

&8220;As we saw with Katrina and Rita, even though those storms affected the gulf region of Louisiana most of all, it also affected all of the state because resources were devoted to the gulf region,&8221; Allen said.

The Domenici-Landrieu Act would open up 8.3 million additional acres in the Gulf for oil and gas production.

The bill would provide 37.5 percent of revenue sharing for the state of Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states.

According to a press release from Sen. Landrieu&8217;s office, the estimates for mineral revenue payments to the state of Louisiana for 2006 is $2,095.

Allen said if Sen. Landrieu&8217;s bill passes, more money from the revenue sharing will go to rebuild and maintain the marshlands and levees of the Gulf Coast, which ultimately act as

a buffer for the state against hurricanes.

&8220;One thing the money will be used for is to control the sediment in the river to allow the wetlands to restore themselves,&8221; Allen said.