The Jindal administration has gotten permission to redirect federal hurricane recovery money from housing aid programs to Superdome upgrades.
Federal approval was discussed on April 19 in the Senate Finance Committee and was confirmed by Christina Stephens, a spokeswoman for the governor’s Division of Administration.
Nearly $7 million is being moved from recovery programs, including fisheries assistance, small business loans and housing aid, to another program that will help pay for improvements to the Superdome, where the New Orleans Saints play.
The proposal needed approval from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the spending of the billions of dollars in block grant aid allocated to Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from New Orleans, had asked for the money shift to be scrapped, saying the plan was ill-advised because people still are struggling to rebuild more than six years after Katrina.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s commissioner of administration, Paul Rainwater, said the Disaster Recovery Unit was shifting unused dollars returned after several parishes said they weren’t needed for the programs to which they had been divvied up.
The money is being sent to a local government infrastructure program, and from there, will be used for Superdome repairs and improvements that didn’t qualify for FEMA aid after Katrina. More than $40 million from the fund already has been used on the domed stadium.