Four economic development groups ask for unified federal aid
Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Four regional economic development organizations in the hurricane-impacted areas of southeast and Southwest Louisiana have joined together to support efforts for a unified disaster aid appropriation for southeast and Southwest Louisiana’s recovery. The four groups urge the U.S. Congress to join with the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to secure funding so the area can rebuild. In two years, Louisiana’s citizens and businesses located along the Gulf of Mexico have been devastated by Hurricanes: Laura (Category 4), Delta (Category 2), Zeta (Category 3), and Ida (Category 4).
The multi-billion dollar financial impact of these disasters include
- housing shortages,
- damaged public and private infrastructure,
- port, airport and transportation disruptions to commerce,
- business stoppage/bankruptcy,
- impacts to national fuel refining and distribution capacity,
- and other negative impacts associated with historic weather-related destruction.
“Since 2020, efforts to obtain direct funding to meet the needs of Southwest Louisiana have been unsuccessful. The experience of residents and leaders in the Lake Charles area should be of concern to our colleagues in Southeast Louisiana,” said George Swift, president/CEO of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance.
“The enormous challenge of disaster recovery- from Hurricane Laura around Lake Charles last year to Hurricane Ida now- requires extraordinary help beyond traditional FEMA programs. There is a huge need for disaster relief funding to help rebuild safer and stronger,” stated Adam Knapp, president/CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
Vic LaFont, president/CEO of the South Louisiana Economic Council said: “Known as an area rich with industrial and natural resources that benefit the energy security of our nation, federal assistance in South Louisiana is not only essential post incident, but crucial for the area’s sustainability and resiliency.”
GNO Inc. President/CEO Michael Hecht said: “From battering our infrastructure to flooding our homes and businesses, Hurricane Ida’s impacts are varied and far-reaching across the Greater New Orleans Region. Residents from the River Region to the Northshore to the Central Business District and surrounding parishes have seen their lives and livelihoods uprooted. We look forward to working with our congressional delegation to secure federal support to not just rebuild, but to return stronger and more resilient than ever.”