Disaster aid not for parking
No one ought to go through the devastation suffered by hundreds of thousands of people in the Gulf States when Hurricane Katrina hit there in August 2005. Most Americans were happy to see their tax money go to help those who lost belongings, homes and businesses in the storm.
But there ought to be a limit – and, call us cynical if you like – it probably should be something less than eight years.
About $872 million in federal funding meant to help residents of Mississippi recover from Katrina has yet to be spent, the Associated Press reported. And about one-fourth of the funding is earmarked not for recovery, but for economic development. Some of it is to be spent many miles away from the hurricane destruction zone.
One $8 million project is a new parking garage near the Mississippi State University football stadium – more than 200 miles from the gulf coast.
Mississippi officials maintain economic development will create jobs for some Katrina victims. They and officials in other states hit by disasters add that it sometimes takes time to plan and implement such projects.
But eight years? One-fourth of the money to economic development? Some of it to make life easier for university football fans far from the disaster zone?
Come on. Clearly, federal officials and members of Congress need to take another look at how disaster relief money is handed out.