Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Edwards and DOTD praise U.S. Senate for passage of infrastructure bill

by BIZ Magazine

Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. are commending the Biden Administration and U.S. Senate for passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The bipartisan act allocates $550 billion to the states for infrastructure improvements, and Louisiana is expected to receive $5.8 billion over the next five years.

“Today’s bipartisan vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will have an everlasting impact on Louisiana and is a huge step in the right direction toward helping the state clear a backlog of road and bridge repairs that our state has long needed to address,” said Gov. Edwards. “We are that much closer to receiving nearly $6 billion from the nationwide allocation of $550 billion. This will mean jobs and a much-improved transportation system that our citizens deserve. Of special interest is the investment in ports, which will be of great benefit to our urban and rural ports across the state. In addition, this bill will greatly help to eliminate the digital divide in our state by 2029. It will provide $100 million that will help solve a portion of our broadband access challenges across the state. This has been a long time in coming and took a lot of hard work to pass. I am grateful to Sen. Bill Cassidy for his leadership on the IIJA which will bring benefits to our state for generations to come. I urge members of the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly approve this bill and make the benefits it promises our state and nation a reality.”

“I commend the U.S. Senate for passing the IIJA today and demonstrating the bipartisanship that’s so important for this legislation to pass into law,” said Sec. Wilson. “Infrastructure knows no politics and the IIJA will benefit everybody and all modes of transportation in our state. Our investment of the nearly $6 billion over the next five years will make a sizable impact on the roads and bridges that have been in need of upgrades for years. I join Gov. Edwards in thanking Sen. Cassidy and all those who worked tirelessly to ensure this act passed the senate.”

The IIJA will now move to the U.S. House of Representatives for debate.

The IIJA is the largest federal infrastructure investment in history. Nationwide, some of the highlights include:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major projects
  • $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation (largest bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate Highway System)
  • $11 billion for transportation safety programs (over double the current funding)
  • $39 billion to modernize public transit and approve accessibility (largest public transit investment in history)
  • $66 billion for passenger rail (largest passenger rail investment since the creation of Amtrak)
  • $17 billion for port infrastructure
  • $25 billion for airports

The IIJA will grow the economy, enhance our competitiveness, create jobs, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just. The act provides funding nationwide for roads, bridges, highway safety, public transit, passenger and freight rail, ports, airports, and waterways. Funding is also provided for power infrastructure, clean drinking water, additional protection from droughts and floods, reconnecting communities divided by transportation infrastructure, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, electric buses, environmental remediation, and high-speed internet.

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