Officials Say Most Katrina Money Spent, Successful

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi officials dispute that unspent federal aid after Hurricane Katrina indicates trouble in the recovery effort, despite a watchdog report that questions whether future plans will create the required number of jobs at the Port of Gulfport, as well as some economic development projects that have yet to create jobs.

Reacting to an Associated Press examination of the $847 million remaining in the Katrina grant fund and troubles with the massive building project at the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi Development Authority officials said Monday that unspent money is overwhelmingly allocated to specific projects, and is not a pool of free cash.

They say most spending from the $5.5 billion set aside for Mississippi by Congress has been successful, despite some economic development projects that have lagged in job creation.

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