Louisiana to Spend $ 22.9 Million to Modernize Water Systems in Rural Parishes in State | State policy

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The legislature approved 29 projects Рspending $ 22.9 million in federal funds Рto modernize the old water supply systems of small municipalities and rural parishes in the state, including those of Harahan, Livonia, Independence and Port Barr̩.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee on Wednesday approved spending on what will be the first round of money spent trying to fix the hundreds of poorly maintained drinking water and sewer systems – many of which were built ago half a century – not up to code. . The second round of the money, in large part, will be distributed after the legislative panel meeting on January 25.

“The intention is to move these projects forward, putting these critical projects on the ground as soon as possible. But making sure we do it with the best use of those funds, ”said State Representative Jerome“ Zee ”Zeringue, the Republican from Houma who chairs the House Appropriations Committee and co-chairs the House. commission of the water section which is responsible for classifying the candidacies of local communities.

This first round of requests approved on Wednesday were for projects the legislature had already approved as part of the state’s construction budget. The plan was to use federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for all 29 projects, which would free up nearly $ 23 million in public funds that could be used for other state projects, a declared Zeringue.

Fourteen of the 29 local governments did not provide all the information needed to turn these state projects into federal projects, Administration Commissioner Jay Dardenne said. The federal government has detailed procedures and requirements for the use of federal money so that audits can be performed to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent as promised.

“But once we have the information and we have signed the documentation, they will get their money pretty quickly,” Dardenne said.

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House Speaker Clay Schexnayder R-Gonzales was more specific, warning senators and representatives to get in touch with local officials and ensure requested data has been passed on. “If this information is requested and we do not get this information,” he said, the requests “will not be approved. You need to get closer to your premises.

For the second phase, local will compete for approximately $ 300 million in ARP money.

Dardenne noted that the amount approved by lawmakers is nowhere near enough to meet the demands already submitted, which represent only a fraction of the systems needing repairs that will cost billions of dollars.

Almost 550, or over $ 1 billion, were received for review and assessment by the State Water Section Commission. The Commission will recommend that the Joint Budget Committee should fund. Lawmakers are expected to vote on January 25.

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