The Project was authorized in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 (WIIN Act of 2016).
Construction funding has been added to the 2022 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the amount of $120 Million. The funds appear to be slated for the storm damage risk reduction features only of the project. Further USACE guidance is forthcoming once the funds are made available. The $120M is projected to elevate approximately 600-700 of the potential 3,462 residential structures identified in the feasibility report.
Over the next several months, USACE will be working closely with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Board (CPRAB) who will serve as the Non-Federal Sponsor (NFS) to execute a Project Partnership Agreement. Once that Agreement is in place USACE intends to solicit and award a design/build type Construction Contract to prepare individual plans and once agreed to by the homeowner, CPRAB and USACE; issue notice to proceed to elevate the structure to the projected year 2075 100-yr base flood elevation. Homeowners will be required to sign a flood proofing agreement basically agreeing that they cannot use the space below the first floor for living space along with other terms that will be spelled out.
To date we have approved for Construction 27 structures, and they will be the first elevated. 10 of the structures are in Calcasieu Parish and 17 of the structures are in Vermillion Parish. USACE and the Corps have prioritized the structures by their first-floor elevation and the States low to moderate income areas. We have received about 150 voluntary applications for inclusion in the project from our targeted list of homeowners. To be cleared for Construction, we must complete 4 assessments/surveys at each structure. 1) verify first floor elevation, 2) HTRW assessment, 3) Cultural assessment, and 4) structure integrity. In addition, we must verify proof of ownership. If everything goes smoothly, we could be ready to elevate the first structures early 2023. A lot of details remain to be worked out. In the meantime, once the PPA agreement is in place we will be clearing the next batch of structures for Construction.
Several public meetings will be scheduled in each parish with local parish officials and homeowners to educate all on the project and stress the need to fill out a registration form as the project is 100% voluntary. The project is ONLY eligible to the structures identified in the feasibility study and the homeowners that have been contacted by USACE. We will be sending additional letters to the addresses we have on file and contacting the homeowners that have submitted applications. The project will cover nearly 100 percent of the cost to elevate the structure and all spaces covered under the roof line. More specific guidelines and criteria will be distributed at the public meetings.
The project will be cost shared at 65% Federal and 35% CPRAB.