Wednesday, February 15, 2017
St. John the Baptist Parish - Parish President Robottom, her Administrative Staff, and Council Members Jaclyn Hotard, Larry Sorapuru and Michael Wright met with members of the Louisiana delegation in Washington D.C. last week to discuss several topics of importance to St. John Parish.
Officials discussed parish priorities with Senator Bill Cassidy, Congressman Cedric Richmond and Congressman Garret Graves which included the Westshore Lake Pontchartrain Levee Project, FEMA Mitigation funds and the National Flood Insurance Program. Informational packets were provided to the rest of the delegation.
Robottom and Council Members emphasized the need to expedite funding for the levee project to protect the parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. Charles and St. James. They also discussed different options to secure the necessary funds at the federal level and ways to leverage parish funds and possibly utilize in-kind contributions.
Councilman Michael Wright said, “Meeting with our Senate and Congressional delegation is always an important task for us. It's imperative we continue to advocate for our West Shore Levee and other important infrastructure projects.” Councilman Sorapuru added, “This bringing together of stakeholders was a collaborative effort to develop a vision and action plan for our community that may have a lasting impact on the future of our parish. It was a meeting of the minds to transform our community through smart growth.”
Approval of the Westshore Lake Ponchartrain Levee Project was included in passage of the WIIN Act which was recently signed by former President Barack Obama. The project is comprised of earthen levees, flood walls and pump stations between the Bonnet Carre Spillway at Montz and the Hope Canal in Garyville. The total project cost is estimated at $718.1 million with St. John Parish responsible for approximately $50 million with an annual $5 million in maintenance costs.
Robottom and senior officials spent countless hours advocating for the project and it is now closer to construction than it has been in over 40 years. “This project is critical to protecting our residents, businesses and industry and it is long overdue,” Robottom said. “This was a great opportunity to make a strong presence in D.C. and to convey to our Congressional delegation that now is the time to act and fund this project for the River Region.”
St. John Parish also partnered with the Port of South Louisiana and St. James and St. Charles Parishes to host the annual River Parishes Economic Development Initiative Breakfast at the Washington Hilton. The annual event is an effort to highlight regional economic development opportunities and successes and to demonstrate a steadfast alliance between our delegation and Parish officials for the good of the region.