[StBernard] LRA Releases Estimates of Hurricane Impact

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Jan 12 10:40:28 EST 2006

LRA Releases Estimates of Hurricane Impact
Magnitude of Disaster to Factor into Block Grant Discussion Friday

BATON ROUGE, La. - The current and projected financial impact on Louisiana
from hurricanes Katrina and Rita has reached into the hundreds of billions
of dollars, according to figures released today by Governor Kathleen
Babineaux Blanco's recovery panel.

According to Louisiana Recovery Authority preliminary estimates, the 2005
hurricanes had an impact between $75-100 billion on property and
infrastructure and $15-20 billion in temporary relief services. In addition,
the storms are expected to inflict between $50-70 billion in losses to
Louisiana's economy (defined as nominal Gross State Product) and $8-10
billion in lost state and local revenue over the next five years.

The figures reflect the cost to recover (temporary services), the cost to
rebuild (property and infrastructure) and the cost to address economic and
fiscal losses.

The estimated financial impact breakdown is as follows:

Property and Infrastructure: $75-100 billion
-Levee restoration to pre-Katrina authorized levels ($3 billion)*
-Residential homes and personal property ($27-35 billion)
-Businesses and commercial property ($25-29 billion)
-Infrastructure including roads, bridges, utilities and debris removal
($15-18 billion)
-State facilities and public/private education and health care facilities
($6-8 billion)

* These figures do not include an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion
required for Category 5 hurricane protection and coastal restoration.

Temporary Relief Services: $15-20 billion
-Temporary housing - hotels, mobile homes ($7.5 billion)
-Social services, including disaster unemployment, crisis counseling and
legal services ($4.5-6 billion)
-Emergency and other services including road clearance, food, etc. ($3-5.5

Economic (Gross State Product): $50-70 billion
-Gross State Product losses through 2009 (2005 impact estimated at more than
$16 billion)

Government fiscal stability: $8-10 billion
-Estimated state and local revenue shortfalls discounted over five years
-State: $1-1.5 billion in 2006 ($4-5 billion through 2009)
o Local city and parish governments: ($4-5 billion through 2009)

These figures present the gross impact to the state. They will be offset in
part by private insurance, National Flood Insurance Program and FEMA
assistance, as well as additional appropriated federal aid.

"The severe impact of the disaster has placed a profound stress on
government at all levels, not to mention that of the individuals and
businesses attempting to recover and rebuild. Private insurance, FEMA
assistance and congressional appropriations only cover a portion of these
losses, leaving a substantial gap," LRA Executive Director Andy Kopplin

"We know that we're going to have to use limited resources wisely and
maximize the funding in ways that can get the biggest return on the
investment. That's our charge from the Governor as we work with the Division
of Administration to craft a proposal for investing the Community
Development Block Grant dollars," he said.

Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco announced her priorities last week for
spending up to $6.2 billion in federal CDBG dollars. In a speech to the New
Orleans City Council, Blanco said she wants the aid directed toward housing,
infrastructure and economic development:

"Before Congress adjourned, they approved an aid package for the
Gulf Coast area hit by Katrina. We all know it's not enough ... but we will
make the best we can with what we have received so far and keep fighting for
our fair share of the recovery dollars.

I have already moved to secure Louisiana's share of this Community
Development Block Grant money. In fact, I spoke Tuesday with U.S. Housing
Secretary Alfonso Jackson to make sure he knows we will apply for every CDBG
dollar we are eligible for - all $6.2 billion of it.

We won't wait for the Washington bureaucracy to develop it's
regulations before we develop our plan to invest that money in our recovery.
I have directed the LRA to begin implementing my plan now, starting with a
request for $100 million in business bridge loans. I will propose that the
CDBG money be spent on programs that maximize our resources.

We must creatively leverage this money to create jobs and help the
largest number of people who want to rebuild and invest in our collective
future. That will help bring our economy and people back."

Blanco and the LRA Board of Directors will address CDBG funding in a meeting
Friday in House Committee Room 1 in the Louisiana State Capitol. The meeting
will be carried live via webcast on the LRA's website at

> .

Once the plan is approved by the LRA, it will be presented to the Joint
Legislative Committee on the Budget for approval prior to its submission to
the U. S. Department on Housing and Urban Development.

Greg Albrecht, chief economist for Louisiana's Legislative Fiscal Office,
said "The economic and government fiscal losses reflect 200,000 jobs lost in
the state immediately after the storms, and the gradual re-creation of those
jobs over the next few years. The speed of recovery of the state's economy
will depend largely on the timely and effective use of all the resources and
aid the state can obtain."

The LRA, a 26- member body appointed by Governor Blanco to identify and
prioritize short and long-term needs of the recovery, is the planning and
coordinating body that will assist in implementing the Governor's vision for
the recovery of Louisiana. It will seek out and value local input as it
plans and implements the recovery.


The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (LDRF), Louisiana's fund for
Louisiana's people, has been established by Governor Kathleen Babineaux
Blanco in order to support long-term family restoration and recovery and
help provide assistance to our citizens in need through a network of
Louisiana charities and non-profit agencies.

1-877-HELPLA1 (877-435-7521) www.louisianahelp.org

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