City Secures Final $1.2B FEMA Settlement To Repair Hurricane Katrina-Related Damage To Local Roads, Subsurface Infrastructure

NEW ORLEANS –Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that FEMA has obligated $1.2 billion in recovery funds to repair Hurricane Katrina-related damage to New Orleans’ roadways and subsurface infrastructure, including water, sewer and drainage pipes. The settlement of $1.2 billion in previously unobligated recovery funds brings the total to over $2 billion secured under the Landrieu Administration for roads and subsurface infrastructure. Mayor Landrieu and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate announced the agreement on the final settlement in December 2015.

         City reps said this final settlement with FEMA is the result of year’s long negotiations to determine a final estimate of eligible costs for repairs between the City of New Orleans, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB) and Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). The City and S&WB requested approval of a capped sub-grant permitting them the flexibility to utilize the funds throughout the roadway and subsurface infrastructure systems.

         “When we came into office, New Orleans’ recovery from Hurricane Katrina was stalled and I charged my administration to go back to the drawing board,” Mayor Landrieu said. “After years of negotiations with the federal government, I am excited to announce that FEMA has formally obligated to the City and S&WB the final settlement for Katrina-related damage to New Orleans’ roads and subsurface infrastructure. This $1.2 billion lump sum settlement brings the total to over $2 billion in new funding for infrastructure repairs secured since we took office in May 2010. Throughout this effort, FEMA has been a valued partner in our recovery and we thank them for their continued commitment. With this settlement, we will be able to make significant progress repairing outstanding damage left by Katrina to our neighborhood roads, while at the same time making our city stronger and more resilient.”

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         Under this agreement, FEMA has approved a $1,287,364,867 lump sum settlement and agreed to the amounts detailed below as capped grants.


City of New Orleans

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         To date, FEMA has approved $335,982,639.62 in public assistance funds to the City of New Orleans for disaster-eligible road and drainage repairs. FEMA has determined that an additional $1,179,778,659.03 is eligible and will be provided in a capped sub-grant, $219,641,450.34 of previously obligated funds will also be included in the capped sub-grant.


Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

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         To date, FEMA has approved $243,390,735.72 in public assistance funds to S&WB for water, sewer and drainage repairs. FEMA has determined that an additional $132,855,615.00 is eligible and will be provided in a capped sub-grant, $167,085,571.31 of previously obligated funds will also be included in the capped sub-grant.

         Cedric Grant, Executive Director of S&WB, said, “Hurricane Katrina left profound impacts on our city’s roadways and subsurface infrastructure. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in New Orleans’ recovery to not just repair the damage left by the storm, but to harden our infrastructure so that it is stronger and more resilient. Since Mayor Landrieu took office, we have worked day and night to secure this settlement. I want to commend the men and women of the City and Sewerage and Water Board who have worked so diligently to achieve this success and thank FEMA for continuing to be a committed partner in New Orleans’ recovery.”


Historic Infrastructure Improvement Program Underway

         City reps said an historic infrastructure improvement program is currently underway in New Orleans. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the City completed $16 million in roadway capital improvements and $2 million – $3 million in roadway maintenance in a typical year. Today, there is more roadwork now than at any time in recent history, they said. Following Hurricane Katrina, the City has completed on average $34 million in roadway capital improvements and $1 million – 2.5 million in roadway repairs.

         After taking office in May 2010, Mayor Landrieu hit the reset button on the City’s negotiations with the federal government on Hurricane Katrina-related damage, City reps said. Since then, the City has met with FEMA over 867 times producing $1 billion more in new funding to rebuild and repair public facilities and streets. So far, the City has completed 269 road projects totaling $383.6 million and resulting in 122 miles of new roads.

         S&WB began implementing a ten-year $3.3 billion capital improvement program in 2013 comprised of over 600 projects that will create 25,000 construction jobs across the city. Through the rate increase approved by New Orleans City Council beginning in 2013, bond rating upgrades for sewer and water, and the recent bond sales, S&WB’s water and sewer capital improvement programs were fully funded for the first time in 25 years beginning in 2014. This work is being paired with the City’s multi-billion recovery program combining to create one of the largest infrastructure improvement efforts in the history of New Orleans. S&WB’s capital improvement program will have a $7.7 billion economic impact over the next decade on the New Orleans region supporting 51,000 jobs.


Integrated Infrastructure Management

         In summer 2014, the City and S&WB entered into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to establish an Integrated Infrastructure Management System to coordinate all infrastructure projects and repairs to ensure that they are performed properly and in a timely manner. Now, all capital improvement and infrastructure projects are fully coordinated as City and S&WB personnel coordinate jointly on projects including construction, acquisition, improvement, maintenance, and promotion of any public improvement or project, specifically including activities related to public utilities, sewerage, flood control, drainage and streets, City reps said.

         In spring 2015, the City launched a new online tool to track the progress of roadwork projects and infrastructure improvements across the city. The website shows ongoing coordination on road construction by the City’s Department of Public Work (DPW), Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Damage Reduction Project (SELA) and Regional Transit Authority (RTA). The City updates projects monthly, providing residents with the most accurate view of infrastructure improvements occurring across New Orleans. The project is a collaboration between DPW and S&WB under the City’s Integrated Infrastructure Management System.


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