Louisiana governor signs $700 million roads bill
July 11, 2019
Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure has received a shot in the arm.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed into law a bill to allot more than $700 million for infrastructure work throughout the state.
Previously HB578, the new law uses proceeds secured in the settlement for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill to pay for 10 key infrastructure projects.
“I applaud the Legislature for targeting long-awaited projects that we know will help improve travel for motorists and provide economic benefits to the state,” Edwards said in a news release.
Projects that will receive funding include Lafayette’s Interstate 49 South and Shreveport’s I-49 North connector. Additionally, the new law allocates $125 million to construct a 2.7-mile connector from Louisiana 415 to Louisiana 1 in West Baton Rouge Parish.
The governor’s administration describes the new connector as helping to improve connectivity on I-10 in West Baton Rouge. The project is touted to provide a relief route for local traffic during peak hours, and to provide a direct connection for commercial vehicles to intermodal facilities located at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson described the bill’s signing as a “win for infrastructure.” He highlighted the West Baton Rouge connector project.
Wilson said, with the state’s $13 billion backlog for transportation needs, there remains much to do for transportation work in the state.
“While this one-time investment is a good down payment, we have so much more we could achieve with sustainable infrastructure investment,” Wilson said in a news release.
The state receives $53 million in the settlement annually. Money for the projects could be bonded to get work underway sooner rather than later.
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