GONZALES - Leaders have committed to pay $10 million for a levee around Ascension Parish if the federal government decides not to pay the bill.
The New Orleans District Army Corps of Engineers is leaning toward building a new system, classified as Alternative C, surrounding parts of St. James Parish. It neglects Ascension Parish.
People in Ascension worry that plan would funnel flood water to them. They are pushing for Alternative D, a levee that puts more protection around Ascension.
The Corps is leaning toward C due to financial issues.
"It really is an economic decision. There are a lot of things that go into that but at the heart of that C is the alignment or alternative that reasonably maximizes net benefits," the levee study senior project manager Jeff Risco said.
But even without the feds money, the Pontchartrain Levee District and parish leaders promised the 13-mile levee will still get built.
"I know we have a commitment from (Ascension) President Martinez, as well as President Roussell next door in St. James, we are going to build alignment D and that's going to get us all the way to the Marvin Breaux pump station," Pontchartrain Levee District president Steve Wilson said during Wednesday night's meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers.
The PDL is comprised of East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Ascension, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles Parish.
If Alternative C is funded by the federal government. If PDL builds the planned Alternative D, taxpayers in every parish in the PDL would put up the money to build and maintain the levee for Ascension.
Alternative D is estimated to keep some 110,000 more people dry during the next big storm.