Strengthen the levees in New Orleans
"Will ensure that New Orleans has a levee and pumping system to protect the city against a 100-year storm by 2011, with the ultimate goal of protecting the entire city from a Category 5 storm."
Direct revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling to increased coastal hurricane protection
"Will also direct revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling to increased coastal hurricane protection."
Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area
"Will finish rebuilding the region's criminal justice system so that we do not have to rely on the National Guard to patrol city streets..Will establish a special "COPS for Katrina" program to allow communities impacted by the storm to hire and retain new officers and community prosecutors, develop community-based crime fighting strategies, and rebuild their lost infrastructure... Will strengthen Drug Enforcement Administration efforts to stop the reestablishment of drug gangs across the region...Will help local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies come together to establish an integrated regional crime control partnership so that each police chief and sheriff doesn't have to face these crime problems alone."
Shake loose federal money for rebuilding the Gulf Coast
"Will ensure resources reach the communities that need it...Will streamline the application process so that communities feel that FEMA is a partner in reconstruction, not an opponent. They will elevate the federal rebuilding coordinator so that he or she reports directly to the president and so that rebuilding remains a national priority...Will work closely with the state to distribute critical infrastructure dollars. They also will ensure that no unnecessary red-tape or burdensome regulations are holding up state and local plans, while retaining the need for public accountability."
Rebuild hospitals in New Orleans
"Will rebuild broken facilities and provide incentives, such as loan forgiveness, to lure medical professionals back to the region. They will fight to establish a major medical complex in downtown New Orleans that will serve the entire community. They will also push to quickly build a new, state-of-the-art Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in New Orleans so that the city's veterans can get top-quality care."
Rebuild schools in New Orleans
"Will help communities in the Gulf make necessary school infrastructure investments so all kids from all backgrounds have safe and supportive environments to learn."
Restore housing in New Orleans
"Will work with the state to establish a goal for approving all Road Home applications within two months...Will also work to increase the supply of rental property, which is particularly important in New Orleans where 57 percent of pre-Katrina residents were renters."
Improve transportation in New Orleans
"Will help the New Orleans area develop regional transit partnerships so that public transit can be integrated across parish lines, providing seamless transportation options, including a possible light rail line to connect New Orleans and Baton Rouge through the petrochemical corridor in between."
Ensure New Orleans locals can get recovery jobs
"Will fight to ensure more Katrina-related recovery or reconstruction activities can be done by local residents. These measures would ensure that Gulf Coast residents, and not big corporations, will rebuild their communities...Will work to improve job training in the area as well."
Provide incentives to draw employers into areas hardest-hit by Katrina
"Will target tax incentives to lure businesses to the hardest hit areas of the Gulf Coast including downtown New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish."
Appoint experienced disaster official to head FEMA
"Will professionalize and depoliticize the appointment of FEMA's director. Like the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FEMA Director will have a fixed term of office to insulate him or her from politics. The FEMA Director will report directly to President Obama, serve a six-year term and will have professional emergency management experience."
Reform the Small Business Administration's ability to respond after disasters
"Will fix the Small Business Administration (SBA) bureaucracy so that it can step in during a disaster and provide assistance." The SBA was quickly overwhelmed with applications following Katrina.
Direct rebuilding efforts from the White House after a catastrophe
"Immediately following a catastrophe, Barack Obama will appoint a Federal Coordinating Officer to direct reconstruction efforts. The job of the FCO and his or her staff will be to cut through bureaucratic obstacles, get federal agencies to work together and to coordinate efforts with local officials. Obama and Biden will ensure bipartisan staffing to ensure that politics do not override the real needs of the recovering community."
Appoint a Chief Financial Officer to oversee the rebuilding following national disasters
"Will appoint a Chief Financial Officer to oversee the rebuilding following national disasters to minimize waste and abuse."
Create a national catastrophe insurance reserve
"Will create a National Catastrophe Insurance Reserve that would be funded by private insurers contributing a portion of the premiums they collect from policyholders. Such a framework would neither distort the insurance market nor discourage risk avoidance and risk mitigation investments because insurers would not be forced out of high-risk markets for fear of bankruptcy in the event of a disaster. With this program in place, disaster victims would no longer have to depend solely on taxpayerfunded federal disaster aid loans."
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