WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says sluggish federal funding has the city's hurricane recovery efforts in a Catch-22 situation, USA Today reported Thursday.
In a Washington interview with the newspaper's editorial board, Nagin said since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005, much of the $900 million approved for repairs is being held up by bureaucracy.
He said contracts for infrastructure repair can't be issued until the money is in hand, while the money isn't available until the projects have started.
Nagin visited Washington Wednesday to speak with lawmakers and officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"We're here to say to the federal government: 'Honor the law,'" Nagin said.
James Stark, the head of the FEMA recovery office in Louisiana, told the newspaper most of the federal money already has been turned over to Louisiana but acknowledged there had been delays.
"Given the breadth of this disaster I think it's understandable that some of this has moved slower than we'd all hoped," he said.