BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana is making a pitch for millions of dollars in federal financing it hopes will help elevate a state highway leading to a critical national oil and gas hub.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and state lawmakers pledged $150 million in oil spill recovery money for improvements to LA Highway 1 in Lafourche Parish heading to Port Fourchon. Louisiana's leaders want the federal government to match that with another $150 million.
Jefferson Parish U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, who is the No. 2 House Republican, said he met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Wednesday to talk of the state's request.
Chao's department is overseeing a $900 million infrastructure grant program that Louisiana has targeted to provide the $150 million in federal financing, to help elevate an 8.3 mile stretch of Highway 1 from Golden Meadow to Leeville.
Scalise said he stressed not only the highway's use as a key hurricane evacuation route, but also its importance to the national energy infrastructure at Port Fourchon.
"It will be an aggressive competition, but I think we have an incredibly strong story," he said.
Applications for the federal grant dollars are due by Feb. 25, Scalise said, with awards announced by the end of summer.