Corps Of Engineers May Not Have Enough $ For New Orleans Levee Improvements - Times-Picayune
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 01:21 PM by hatrack
After months of delays in determining the true cost of upgrading the region's levees, with more delays expected, Army Corps of Engineers officials now fear they may not have enough money to pay for the improvements, the agency's director of civil works said Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Don Riley won't be able to confirm the existence or extent of the financing gap until June, when officials are expected to put cost figures to plans for protecting the region from a once-in-100-year flood. But he and members of the state congressional delegation worry that current allocations won't cover escalating costs.
At the time Congress appropriated the last chunk of the $5.7 billion the corps has on hand to raise levees, corps officials said a risk assessment study would be completed by September 2006, outlining the needed repairs and upgrades. The corps now expects to finish that study in March, but will need three more months to determine the cost of the work, Riley said.
"We have concerns about cost escalation," Riley said. "But we won't know for sure until the summer." Much of the delay stems from the complicated risk-assessment study that will determine which stretches of the serpentine levee system will have to be raised, or otherwise improved, and by how much, Riley said.
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