Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday released a statement urging members of Congress to immediately pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which he says will provide "much needed benefits" to the state.
The Senate voted last Wednesday to start work on the nearly $1 trillion bill, after President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of 22 senators reached an agreement on the key part of the White House agenda.
"Infrastructure has always been a priority for my administration, and since taking office in January 2016, we have seen $3.4 billion invested in our state's infrastructure using all the tools at our disposal." said Edwards in his statement Tuesday.
The bill would fund more than $6 billion for Louisiana's roads and highways. The state has 1,634 bridges and more than 3,411 miles of highway in poor condition. It also authorizes $371 million to Louisiana for water revolving funds.
According to Sen. Bill Cassidy, the bill includes $47 billion for resiliency that will go in part to rebuild Louisiana's eroded coastlines and waterways; $73 billion for energy infrastructure; and will invest in broadband to expand internet access to tens of thousands of Louisianans who currently don't have access.
Senators are now trying to sell the infrastructure bill to the American people; the Associated Press reports that it seems the Senate will approve the bill during the coming week.
Gov. Edwards' full statement is below:
"Infrastructure has always been a priority for my administration, and since taking office in January 2016, we have seen $3.4 billion invested in our state's infrastructure using all the tools at our disposal. That investment, while significant, isn't nearly enough to address Louisiana's needs. But now, with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) currently being considered in the U.S. Senate, this is a very promising time for all Louisianans. The prospect of our state receiving nearly $6 billion from the nationwide allocation of $550 billion gives us hope that our backlog of road and bridge needs will finally get the attention it deserves. Equally important, this bill provides funding and policy certainty for five years.
Passage of the IIJA will not only allow major improvements to our transportation system and provide jobs for our citizens, but it will also be a step in the right direction to protect our communities against the flooding events that occur throughout our state with a higher frequency. There are several other provisions in the IIJA that will help mitigate the effects of climate change. The IIJA will yield a positive outcome for Louisiana and our nation as a whole. The progress of the act so far in its journey through the U.S. Congress is a brilliant example of how we can come together as one and provide bipartisan solutions to any problems we face. I'd like to thank Senator Bill Cassidy for his efforts in allowing the IIJA to be considered on the Senate floor, and I urge all senators, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, to pass this act on behalf of the citizens of Louisiana."
Read more about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and what it would bring to Louisiana here.
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