Commentary

Private funds speed up New Orleans recovery

Rebulding has gone a lot smoother and faster in the areas the depend on private money compared to the ones relying on government funds according to an article in today’s USA Today. The article, aptly titled “2 years after Katrina, pace of rebuilding depends on who pays,” notes:

Two years after the devastating floods that followed Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding of New Orleans, and much of the Gulf Coast, has largely taken two paths: communities that have rebuilt themselves using private funds, insurance money and sheer will ââ?¬â?? and publicly funded efforts that have moved much more slowly. Federal, state and local governments have struggled to speed up the release of funds and restore infrastructure. None of the 115 “critical priority projects” identified by city officials has been completed: For example, New Orleans’ police superintendent still works out of a trailer, as do most of the city’s firefighters. And analysts at the city’s crime lab don’t have a laboratory to match DNA samples.

Who pays the biggest burden from government ineptitude?

The delays have affected the poor the most ââ?¬â?? those dependent on government assistance to rebuild their lives. While middle- and upper-class neighborhoods have rebuilt using private insurance and contacts, residents of low-income areas such as the Lower 9th Ward and Holy Cross ââ?¬â?? roughly 20,000 of them ââ?¬â?? for the most part remain scattered throughout the region, their return uncertain.

Of course, that’s not a surprise to the regular readers of this blog.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.