And the agency is making plans to lay down hundreds of acres of gravel, at a cost of $6 million, so the trailers don't sink into the mud. That's just one more expense that drives critics like Congressman Ross crazy. There is one thing though about the mobile homes in Hope that everyone agrees on, they're going to be here for some years to come. Greg Allen, NPR News.

Of course, motels and restaurants benefited, gas sales were good. Of course, $25,000 a month that the airport's receiving is a benefit. But the hardship has been knowing they're not being utilized for the reasons which they were purchased. That's, as taxpayers, we're all concerned and upset about that. ALLEN: FEMA says it's now considering turning the site in Hope into a permanent staging area, a stockpile for trailers and other disasters preparedness supplies.

Andrews says the agency is talking with officials in Louisiana and Mississippi about how to use the mobile homes there and hopes eventually to ship some 5,000 units to the Gulf Coast. She says the ones that don't go to the Gulf will be used elsewhere. Ms. ANDREWS: Some have already been moved to Texas and Oklahoma for the wildfires that have been going there. We anticipate some will be needed during the 2006 hurricane season and then also FEMA keeps about 5,000 trailers on hot rolled steel coil, just in case they're needed at any time. ALLEN: In the town of Hope, Mayor Dennis Ramsey says in November and December, when some 100 trailers a day were being delivered, it tied up traffic.

But he seems almost guilty to confess that something which is widely seen as a FEMA boondoggle has actually been good for his town. Mayor DENNIS RAMSEY (Hope, Arkansas): There's about 30 local employed out there.