Gov. Barbour challenges leaders to "step it up a notch" with storm recovery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gov. Barbour challenges leaders to "step it up a notch" with storm recovery

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Governor Haley Barbour wants South Mississippi leaders to "step it up a notch" with the ongoing Katrina recovery. 

The governor said he's not about to risk losing nearly $2 billion in unspent relief money. He said the remaining Katrina-related projects could create 18,000 jobs. And those jobs are sorely needed with a worsening recession.     

Governor Haley Barbour told 176 community leaders while he's proud of the post-Katrina progress, "We all know that we've got to step it up a notch."

The governor said Katrina relief money is nearly as large as the amount the entire state will receive in the federal stimulus bill.      

"Of the $2.8 billion that FEMA has allocated to us for rebuilding what was there, we've only spent 57 percent of it," said the governor.     

He called on elected leaders to do all they can to ensure construction is underway on all such projects by the first of September.     

"We will have been almost four years. And that $1.2 billion needs to start getting spent on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Governor Barbour, "I'm not going to ignore the risk that the state is going to have money taken back from us if we don't spent it."      

Governor Barbour told the mayors and supervisors he recognizes the ongoing battles they've faced with FEMA in negotiating the specifics of project work sheets.        

"We're going to start getting this money spent. And we're going to start getting things that are clogged up, cleared up," he said.     

The governor used an example from the port to emphasize how projects can easily get tangled in the bureaucratic process. This one involved FEMA paying for freezers destroyed by the storm.

"Whether the cooling equipment inside a freezer is part of the freezer or if the freezer is the building and the cooling equipment is equipment," he told the group.     

While the governor wasn't exactly harsh or critical to this audience of leaders, his message was clear and concise.      

"These 18,000 jobs we need to get going this year. This year."

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • I-10 westbound backed up for miles in Jackson Co.

    I-10 westbound backed up for miles in Jackson Co.

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 12:26 PM EDT2017-07-26 16:26:11 GMT
    (Photo source: Dianne Lewis)(Photo source: Dianne Lewis)

    Westbound traffic on I-10 in Jackson County is backed up for miles after a crash involving an 18-wheeler near the Ocean Springs exit.

    More >>

    Westbound traffic on I-10 in Jackson County is backed up for miles after a crash involving an 18-wheeler near the Ocean Springs exit.

    More >>
  • Duck population overpowering Jackson Co. neighborhood

    Duck population overpowering Jackson Co. neighborhood

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 12:04 PM EDT2017-07-26 16:04:54 GMT

    Residents of Martin Lake Resort in Jackson County say they're trying everything they can do to get rid of the rapidly multiplying duck population wreaking havoc on their neighborhood.

    More >>

    Residents of Martin Lake Resort in Jackson County say they're trying everything they can do to get rid of the rapidly multiplying duck population wreaking havoc on their neighborhood.

    More >>
  • South MS public servants inducted into MML Hall of Fame

    South MS public servants inducted into MML Hall of Fame

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 11:37 AM EDT2017-07-26 15:37:50 GMT

    In Biloxi this morning, more than 120 years of public service are being honored. The Mississippi Municipal League inducted several new members into the organization’s hall of fame.

    More >>

    In Biloxi this morning, more than 120 years of public service are being honored. The Mississippi Municipal League inducted several new members into the organization’s hall of fame.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly