April 11, 2017 11:47 AM

After months of working through the federal bureaucracy, Louisiana has access to the $1.6 billion in federal aid earmarked by Congress for flood recovery.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, officially released the dollars to the state Monday. Louisiana can now start withdrawing dollars to pay for recovery projects approved by HUD.

The governor's office says the state will begin using the dollars quickly, to do the environmental reviews required by the federal government for homeowners seeking rebuilding assistance.

More than 6,800 people so far had completed a state survey Monday that is the first step to apply for the homeowner aid. The administration plans to spend $1.3 billion of the congressional aid on homeowner recovery.

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