Katrina Damage to La. State Buildings Estimated at $1.3 Billion

October 3, 2005

Damages to state buildings by Hurricane Katrina total nearly $1.3 billion – and the price tag for repairs will only grow larger if the buildings need replacement, rather than repairs, according to preliminary estimates from the Louisiana official who oversees state building projects.

The state has $500 million of insurance coverage on the structures – with a $25 million deductible the state must pay – and the rest of the price tag for repairs or replacement is expected to be picked up by FEMA, said Jerry Jones, director of the Office of Facility Planning and Control.

“We’re going to blow through our insurance coverage in just about the first day,” Jones told lawmakers on a joint budget committee.

Estimates of Katrina’s damage could grow as officials do more assessments, and the damage from Hurricane Rita still was being determined, Jones said.

He said the costs of repairing buildings will be complicated by mold and asbestos problems, a lack of materials and a high demand for contractors for rebuilding projects. He said few state agencies have filed damage claims on their buildings. Only 67 claims have been filed so far, and Jones said that could slow down repairs.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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