The US Army Corps of Engineers has appropriated nearly $1.4 billion to Louisiana for flood and hurricane protection projects. $343 million will go towards completing the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal, which could protect thousands of homes in East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parish from flooding.

Senator Bill Cassidy says the federal government got a clue after seeing the effects of flooding in Louisiana.

“The great flood of 2016 kind of sharpened people’s attention as to the vulnerability of the capital region.”

Now that the funding is in place, officials say the Comite River Diversion Canal can be completed in the next three to four years. Cassidy says the federal appropriation also contains 760 million dollars for Hurricane protection projects to come alongside River Parishes.

“They’ve done a lot of good work as well as taxing themselves to come up with money to put in flood control structures and the initial planning etc., for all those river parishes.”

This funding also frees some slack for the ‘Comite Plus’ project which has nearly 2 billion dollars in federal funding which provides drainage improvements throughout the Comite, Amite, and Manchac River.

Baton Rouge Representative Garret Graves says the federal funding allows the state to focus on other issues.

“It frees up other dollars that the state, parishes, levee districts and others would be spending on parts of these projects and helps us to invest those monies in other priorities in our region.”