Commission Delivers Report on Rebuilding the Coast - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 01/06/06

Commission Delivers Report on Rebuilding the Coast

By Bert Case

Governor Haley Barbour has received the final report from his Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal, but the 190 page report isn't open to the public yet. Barbour appointed Netscape founder and native Mississippian Jim Barksdale to head the commission and had high praise for the work Barksdale has done.

Barksdale, an enormously wealthy man, who was the largest contributor to Barbour's opponent, former Governor Ronnie Musgrove, said the report represents 50,000 man hours of the work of over 500 people who crammed the work of decades into three months. Barksdale was asked why he thought a better job of rebuilding could be done now than after hurricane Camille in 1969.

“Across the coast you are going to have more than 20 to 25 billion dollars going into that area. That’s a huge amount of money to make things happen,” said Barksdale.

Barbour, who has read the report, had nothing but praise for Barksdale's work saying, "it is everything I hoped for and more."

Barbour also vowed to have Mississippi be a good steward of record amounts of federal money in the rebuilding process.

“The federal government has entrusted us with an enormous amount of money, in an unprecedented fashion, given us latitude that’s never been given anybody before. We are obliged to be good stewards of that money. We are gonna be good stewards of that money,” he said.

Barbour was emphatic in saying rebuilding decisions will be made at the local level and the purpose of the governor's commission was only to let people see, "what can be." Printed versions of the report will be available by mid-January, but it is expected to be on the Internet by the middle of next week.

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