Regarding “Maintaining a healthy Gulf Coast is key to local economy” (Page B7, Wednesday), Sinclair Oubre is absolutely correct when he argues that the RESTORE Act presents an opportunity for both economic and environmental restoration in Texas and across the Gulf.
But this will only happen if the funds are spent responsibly and in a way that focuses on long-term outcomes, not scoring political points. That means spending should focus on providing public goods for coastal communities that create real economic value and opportunity, including protecting natural resources.
Funds must not be covertly channeled to politically connected businesses or squandered on jobs programs of dubious economic merit.
Projects funded through the RESTORE Act should be able to quantify where and how they will create environmental and economic value and benefit-cost analyses must be subject to public scrutiny.
The RESTORE Act gives an unprecedented level of flexibility to Gulf Coast states and local governments to develop and implement programs that take advantage of local knowledge to address local needs. Policy makers must be careful not to squander that opportunity.