At least $8 million will be allocated to fund a new parking garage near David Wade Stadium at Mississippi State University. MSU, which is in Starkville, Miss. and far from the Gulf Coast, is 250 miles from Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. Jeff Amy of the Associated Press has more,
Part of a hotel-convention center complex planned around a former cotton mill, it’s blocks from Mississippi State’s football stadium. That’s not unlike the condominiums built for University of Alabama football fans in Tuscaloosa using Katrina-related tax breaks and subsidized borrowing.
Like Tuscaloosa, Starkville was part of the presidentially declared disaster zone, and Edwards said spending is appropriate because it helps fuel “a comprehensive recovery.”
While Mississippi funds the Starkville project and can’t seem to find uses for millions in other available funding, some recovery programs in coastal areas still visibly affected by the storm are out of money.
For example, a $3 million forgivable loan program in Hancock County has committed all its funds to local businesses trying to rebuild. Storm surge was at its most extreme in Hancock County, where Katrina made its final landfall.
“We had far more applicants than we had funds,” said Tish Williams, executive director of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce. “We were the hardest hit and the last to get.”
Mississippi still has $872 million in unspent federal aid for Katrina relief. The AP story looks into other spending endeavors that seem to be unrelated to Katrina’s aftermath.
Frankly, anybody who witnessed and had to live through the devastation along the Mississippi Gulf Coast should be sickened by the report. Federal disaster relief, especially when we are talking about the billions of dollars given to Mississippi after Katrina, proves just too tempting to mismanage and abuse for state bureaucrats and politicians.