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Gov. Edwards, others ask Congress to keep infrastructure funds available

Gov. John Bel Edwards today joined five other U.S. governors in asking Congress to protect federal money designated for infrastructure projects.

In a letter to Congressional leaders, Edwards, along with governors Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., Bill Walker, I-Alaska, Phil Scott, I-Vermont and Phil Bryant, R-Miss., say federal recovery funds sent to states following natural disasters in recent years have not covered needed infrastructure investments to protect residents from future disasters.

The Trump administration has requested $12 billion in Community Development Block Grants dedicated to infrastructure enhancements in the six states represented by the governors—along with Texas and Florida.

The Edwards administration says states that experienced one of more flood-related events in the past four years would be eligible to compete for the funds, but efforts are underway to limit the amount of funding available and reduce the number of states that could qualify. Louisiana still needs $600 million in infrastructure enhancements due to the March and August floods last year, Edwards’ office says.

“We understand the huge impacts that Harvey and Irma had on these states, and do not wish to minimize their experiences,” the governors write in the letter. “We also understand, though, that our communities suffered immensely from recent disasters and are still in great need of funding to protect the recovery investments that have been made in response to those disasters.”

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