Gilich views diverting BP funds as ‘unfair to Gulf Coast’

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, who has rallied local leaders on the issue of securing at least 80 percent of the state’s BP money for the Gulf Coast, said he was disappointed with today’s measure passed by the state House that would see $50 million of BP money diverted for roads and bridges projects statewide.

“This $50 million they are proposing to peel off represents about a third of the first year’s installment from BP,” Gilich said. “It’s unfair to the businesses, residents and those on the Gulf Coast who suffered so much economic devastation from the oil spill and still have not recovered. The Coast community, which has stood steadfast in its resolve to see this money spent on the Coast, should have come first on this funding.

Gilich had proposed more than $100 million in waterfront revitalization projects that he has maintained would show a better return to the state than spending the money on infrastructure statewide. The mayor, in the 10 months since taking office, has also urged his fellow Coast mayors to develop projects in their respective communities to add to the list.

“This $50 million is a huge chunk of the first year’s installment” Gilich said. “What we’d like to see now is a plan for the remainder.

“They’ve usually used a divide-and-conquer strategy on us in Jackson, hoping that we would argue amongst ourselves here on the Gulf Coast,” Gilich added, “but we must remain vigilant in our efforts to stand together for the people of the Gulf Coast, which, in turn, benefits the entire state.”
See Biloxi’s BP-related proposals