Louisiana hurricane evacuation money never spent on hurricane evacuation

| Tue Sep. 20, 2005 6:45 PM PDT

In 1997, Congress ordered FEMA to develop a hurricane evacuation plan for New Orleans, but somehow, the money wound up in the coffers of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Commission. A report produced by the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission turned out to be about the needs of the Causeway through the year 2016.

No one is able to say how or why the $500,000 allocation ended up with the Causeway Commission. In 1999, Congress directed FEMA to consult with the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, as well as the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. The federal Department of Homeland Security printed a million evacuation maps for the state, which were part of Louisiana's successful contra-flow traffic plan during the Katrina evacuation.

The first phase of the Hurricane Pam tabletop project did not address all of the state's evacuation needs. A spokesman for the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has stated that he knows nothing about any FEMA funds allocated to the state prior to the Hurricane Pam project.

The 24-mile Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the world's longest bridge.

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