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Re: Available for engineering help - Katrina

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WRT the west coast and Florida, um, yes - I'd let them go. Nice places, but it's not like we don't know about the perils. Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to let a group of private investors go in and shore up the place. Using federal funds to shore up a small city (yes, I think 1/2 mil is a small city) that's below sea level in a hurricane area is a waste of money. If Donald Trump want's to drain the city, repair the levees, and fix the major damage, I wouldn't deny the city funds for roads and typical public works, but I'd rather not spend money we don't have to set the city up for the next disaster.

Regarding the 500 year event - I don't think the infrastructure was designed for a 500 year storm. The wind contours (3 sec) for New Orleans is 140/150 MPH, depending on how you read it. I find it hard to believe that a 130MPH (max) hurricane (Cat 3) qualifies as a 500 year event when a 150MPH 3 second gust (125-130 MPH sustained? I don't have my old ASCE) is a 50 year event. Most stormwater facilities I've seen are only designed for a 10 year event. If local dollars had built a 500 year system, I'm probably going to by okay with ponying up when we have an event that destroys the landscape. If I'm going to be asked to spend 50 billion dollars every 25 years to keep a city below sea level from flooding, I'm not going to be happy. If you note, I said I'd let DC - a moderately historic area with a couple of tourist area, my "home town", and quite a revenue generator for Virginia (where I live) - become part of the Potomac. I have confidence that the business and tourism would not disappear, nor would the people. Hopefully they'd rebuild in an area that was a bit less prone to catastrophic loss. If you (LA) were required to pay for most the necessary improvements to secure all existing strucutres and infrastructure for a 100 year event, would you do it? Would you float a bond and double your state taxes to recover the history and tourist revenue? (I think that's about right - say 50B loan, with a 6B/yr payback is about a doubling of LA tax receipts).

smithegr(--nospam--at) wrote:


I guess the next time we have a major earthquake on the west coast we should just tell everyone to move elsewhere. Maybe we should tell everyone in Florida to move out and just visit on the weekends. New Orleans is a vital part of Louisiana's economy as well as its history. For anyone, especially someone who knows so little about the State, to comment that they should just leave it underwater is ridiculous and it makes me angry.

For the remainder of you who want to blame Bush or the "Left", just remember that the event has already occurred and there are people without houses, without familes, with no money or no way to get what money they have. These are not just the poor people you see on TV that did not evacute, it also includes the engineers, architects, doctors, attorneys, etc. that had the foresight to evacuate when instructed to do so, but have absolutely nothing left. All of your finger pointing will not fix that.

Brian K. Smith, P.E.
Bossier City, Louisiana

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