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$1.2 trillion infrastructure: What's in it for Louisiana?

In a bipartisan vote The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday on a massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, setting the stage for Louisiana to secure an additional $6 billion towards infrastructure in the first five years of the rollout.

Posted: Aug 10, 2021 10:47 PM

Lafayette - In a bipartisan vote The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday on a massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, setting the stage for Louisiana to secure an additional $6 billion towards infrastructure in the first five years of the rollout.

Doctor Shawn Wilson with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development says this monumental bill will change the landscape of infrastructure as we know it.

"This is a vastly different bill than what we’ve seen before in that it is broad in nature and specific in terms of its policy," Wilson said. "And it’s going to transform the American landscape from an infrastructure perspective."

The $6 billion in new spending would break down to an average of $340 to $400 million annually. Money that would greatly impact the Pelican state which received a D+ plus from the Biden administration’s 2021 infrastructure report card.

"Projects on the interstates like I-49 south. Projects like a new Calcasieu River Bridge. Both can receive some element of funding to move those projects from concept to construction," Wilson said.

Each state will decide how the money will be used. Wilson says it will create thousands of jobs to offset other areas of the state’s job sector.

"These are jobs that are going to be created building roads and bridges, dealing with airports, dealing with water systems," he said. "That are going to hire the Louisiana workforce to go out and actually deliver this work."

The bill, despite being a bipartisan effort, didn’t come without critics. U.S. Senator John Kenndy who was one of 30 to vote against the bill said ”only 23% percent of the new spending in this bill is for infrastructure.”

Despite opposition from some on Capitol Hill, Wilson says he’s hopeful that the bill will eventually move past the house before making it to President Biden's desk.

"Congestion, poor roads and bridges have no respect to political party. However, working together, we can invest. Is it as much as everybody wanted? Absolutely not. Is it more than we had before? Absolutely. And can we move forward? Yes we can," Wilson said.

Should this bill make it past the House, President Biden has promised to sign the bill. Touting it as ”a historic once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure…”

Here is a more detailed breakdown of how the bill would directly affect Louisiana: 

  • Louisiana's 2021 allotment of $768 million in federal highway dollars would grow by $378 million during the first year alone.
  • Create an $8.7 billion program nationwide to help states like Louisiana improve resiliency of transportation infrastructure, evacuation routes and at-risk coastal areas.
  • Authorizes, but doesn't fund an Interstate 14 Corridor to run from Georgia to Texas, which would include Louisiana stops in Leesville and Alexandria continuing through Natchez, Miss., and Alabama up to Augusta, Georgia.
  • $65 billion in grants nationwide for broadband deployment.
  • $9.55 billion nationwide for ports and waterways that will directly benefit Louisiana's Port of Calcasieu, Port Fourchon, Port of New Orleans, Port of Baton Rouge, Port of South Louisiana, Port of Plaquemines and J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, Cassidy said.
  • $8 billion for hydrogen hubs to promote the production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of hydrogen that Cassidy called "tailor made for Louisiana’s industry, existing infrastructure and energy sector."
  • $5.1 billion investment in carbon capture, utilization and storage technology to develop CO2 pipelines and storage, which Cassidy said is "a process in which Louisiana leads the nation due to work being done by the private sector, like Gulf Coast Sequestration, and the state government to establish Class VI primacy in the state. This step is key in putting us ahead of states like Texas in establishing this industry," Cassidy said.
  • $3.5 billion nationwide for Flood Mitigation Assistance grants. In the last fiscal year, one-third of applications for this program came from Louisiana, Cassidy said.
  • $17 billion for Army Corps of Engineers infrastructure priorities, which includes $2.55 billion for construction of Coastal Storm Risk Management and Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction projects, specifically targeting states such as Louisiana that have been impacted by federally declared disasters over the last six years.
  • $53 million for Lake Pontchartrain. Lake Pontchartrain will receive this funding over five years to support local restoration efforts.
  • $53 million for EPA’s Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration program. This protects and restores the water bodies and coastal environments associated with the greater Gulf of Mexico region.
  • $60 million for Louisiana and other states in the Mississippi River and Ohio River Basins to support states’ Nutrient Reduction Strategies and fight hypoxia.
  • Louisiana will receive at least $371 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
  • $4.7 billion nationwide for programs to plug, remediate and reclaim orphaned wells on federal, state and tribal lands. In Louisiana, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission reports there are nearly 4,000 orphan wells.
  • $150 million for the Delta Regional Authority. Louisiana is one of eight states in the DRA, which focuses on distributing grants to improve economic and community growth.
  • $3.5 billion nationwide for Superfund site cleanups over five years. The state cost share requirement is waived. Louisiana currently has 13 sites on the National Priorities List.

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