The devastation caused by the Gulf Coast hurricanes presents the nation with unprecedented challenges as well as opportunities to reexamine shared responsibility among all levels of government. All levels of government, together with the private and nonprofit sectors, will need to play a critical role in the process of choosing what, where, and how to rebuild. Agreeing on what the costs are, what federal funds have been provided, and who will bear the costs will be key to the overall rebuilding effort. This testimony (1) places federal assistance provided to date in the context of damage estimates for the Gulf Coast, and (2) discusses key federal programs that provide rebuilding assistance to the Gulf Coast states. In doing so, GAO highlights aspects of rebuilding likely to place continued demands on federal resources. GAO visited the Gulf Coast region, reviewed state and local documents, and interviewed federal, state, and local officials. GAO's ongoing work on these issues focuses on the use of federal rebuilding funds and administration of federal programs in the Gulf Coast region.
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