Recent floods rekindle interest in long delayed Comite River Diversion Canal _lowres

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La) has proposed a new funding plan to build the long-delayed Comite River Diversion Canal.

The canal would carry water from the Comite River and bayous in northern East Baton Rouge Parish during periods of high water. Authorities have said it would have helped reduce property damage in the 2016 floods.

The Louisiana Department of Treasury can leverage the state's unclaimed properties to raise almost $150 million in funding, Kennedy wrote in a Thursday news release.

"The current upswing of the stock market makes it a ripe time to convert the noncash securities into cash. A similar alternative funding mechanism was used to finance work on Interstate-49 North and Interstate-49 South," the senator's office wrote.

The deal wouldn't mean taking anyone's property away, and residents would still be able to claim it, Kennedy clarified. He said he hoped Gov. John Bel Edwards would consider the idea, though noted that Congress may still have to secure some additional funding to finish the project.

Additionally, the money could be used for other infrastructure projects, like traffic construction around Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport.

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