New Orleans, La. – Mayor Landrieu says the new hospital proposed alongside the new Veterans Administration hospital is a sound investment. Critics contend the new state hospital is too big and too expensive.
"We don't know whether it's too big or not because the business plan has not yet been completed."
U-S Senator David Vitter, state Treasurer John Kennedy and House Speaker Jim Tucker are pressing Governor Bobby Jindal to consider scaling back the $1.2 billion facility designed for 424 beds. Vitter wants to re-open Charity Hospital, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina.
"We want to put that idea to rest today. We don't want to build it back like it was. We have an opportunity to build something that we have never had before. And the business plan and the financial plan, which should be financially sustainable. And it should be clairvoyant, and it should be something that is transparent, always has to work, and nobody has ever shied away from that or said that it should not be that way."
Landrieu says the annual operating cost of $100 million is a good investment in medical care as well as the economic engine that will create thousands of jobs.
"It is a tried and true formula in the state of Louisiana to use tax credits and state subsidies to create jobs, and there is no project that is going to create more jobs and more economic development than this one."
The city has already held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site and is aiming to open the facility in 2015. Governor Jindal has asked for a financial plan by September.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.