Senator Ted Kennedy and 13 other Senators spent the day last Friday visiting “the stricken city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to see Katrina’s devastation firsthand and hear from the affected residents.” His report on his visit can be found here: Senator Kennedy on His Visit to New Orleans.
Kennedy has laid out a proposal for a Gulf Coast Redevelopment Authority. The entire proposal can be found here. Here are some quips:
The size and scope of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation is unprecedented. Rebuilding the area affected by the disaster, which spans more than 90,000 square miles, will require money and manpower. To put Katrina’s impact in perpsective, consider the economic impact of previous natural disasters:
1989 Earthquake, San Francisco: $10 billion
Hurricane Ivan, 2004: $13 billion
Hurricane Charley, :$14 billion
Hurricane Andrew, 1992:$26 billion
Hurricane Katrina, 2005: Anticipated Cost of $150 billion
The importance of the affected area demands dedicated resources and personnel to ensure that rebuilding is done in a cost-effective, efficient way. It is a national responsibility to rebuild the region. Consider the potential economic impact of Katrina:
– Possible loss of 400,000 jobs
– National economic growth slashed by up to 1%
– 30% of the nation’s oil and 20% of our natural gas is produced onthe Gulf Coast
– 60% of the United States’ oil and natural gas is imported through the Gulf Coast
– 70% of our soybeans and 62% of our corn is exported through Gulf Coast ports
Such an unprecedented disaster requires an unprecedented response – one that is coordinated, centralized, and efficient. The existing relief operations in place are not equipped with the task of rebuilding the Gulf coast. The Department of Homeland Security should not be distracted from its work fighting terrorism.
The creation of a Gulf Coast Redevelopment Authority would address the difficulties confronting the Gulf Coast region.