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Tue Nov 27, 2012, 05:45 AM

big bill for levee upkeep comes to new orleans

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_KATRINA_THE_COST_OF_PROTECTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-11-27-05-07-22


FILE - This Aug. 30, 2012 file photo shows the pumping station at the 17th Street Canal, built after Hurricane Katrina breached the canal and flooded New Orleans, with the intact canal wall after Hurricane Isaac came through the region. By the time the next hurricane season starts in June 2013, New Orleans will take control of much of a revamped protection system of gates, walls and armored levees the Army Corps of Engineers has spent about $12 billion building. The corps has about $1 billion worth of work left. Engineers consider it a Rolls Royce of flood protection, comparable to systems in seaside European cities such as Venice and Rotterdam. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, file)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- In the busy and under-staffed offices of New Orleans' flood-control leaders, there's an uneasy feeling about what lies ahead.

By the time the next hurricane season starts in June of 2013, the city will take control of much of a revamped protection system of gates, walls and armored levees that the Army Corps of Engineers has spent about $12 billion building. The corps has about $1 billion worth of work left.

Engineers consider it a Rolls Royce of flood protection - comparable to systems in seaside European cities such as St. Petersburg, Venice, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Whether the infrastructure can hold is less in question than whether New Orleans can be trusted with the keys.

The Army Corps estimates it will take $38 million a year to pay for upkeep, maintenance and operational costs after it's turned over to local officials.

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