Senator calls on Bush to pay for levees

Feb. 2, 2007 at 10:50 PM

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- President George W. Bush plans to shift $1.3 billion from levee projects in southern Louisiana to other flood-control projects, a Louisiana senator says.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said the administration needs to make up shortfalls in hurricane protection projects, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

In a letter to the president, Vitter asked him to fulfill promises made to New Orleans and Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"I believe your fiscal 2008 budget proposal would be a step back from that commitment, however unintended," Vitter wrote. "I am deathly afraid that this vital emergency post-Katrina work is now being treated like typical projects that take decades to complete. We will not recover if this happens."

John Paul Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the Army for public works, said the money would go to projects on the west bank of the Mississippi River. But Jerry Spohrer, executive director of the West Jefferson Levee District, said he is not happy about the shift because it sets sections of the New Orleans region against each other.

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