Thursday, January 28, 2010
The federal arbitration panel ruled on the dispute over how much FEMA should pay Louisiana for damage incurred by Charity Hospital during Hurricane Katrina. As we posted on Jan. 11, Louisiana requested $492 million and FEMA was willing to settle for $150 million. The arbitration panel ruled that Louisiana would receive $474.9 million, almost the full amount it requested.
Louisiana intends to use the money to build a new medical complex to be owned by Louisiana State University System. A New York Times article
about the arbitration ruling suggests that the fight over whether to rebuild Charity Hospital or build the new center is not yet over. Jack Davis, the president of Smart Growth for Louisiana
, said the state should use the money to rebuild Charity Hospital. He noted pending lawsuits that challenge the new location on environmental grounds, and also said that Charity could be rebuilt for less money than the cost of the new medical complex. It's an ongoing controversy, but for now the arbitration ruling is good news for the state of Louisiana and for New Orleans.