WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) published an op-ed in The Advocate on Louisiana’s infrastructure needs and the benefits from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“I came to Washington to get a job done. That’s what Louisiana sent me here to do. This bill will shorten your commute time, lessen the chance of flooding in your home, create jobs, and extend broadband internet to schools, families and businesses. It does this all in a fiscally responsible way. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a good bill. You have to be in the room to push things in the right direction for Louisiana. That’s what I’ve done and intend to continue doing for our state,” said Dr. Cassidy.
Click here or read the full op-ed below:
Bill Cassidy: Louisiana desperately needs an infrastructure boost from Congress
As I travel across Louisiana, nearly every community has desperate infrastructure needs. Congress is finally working, in a bipartisan way, to put forward a historic investment in our nation’s roads, bridges, waterways, and online infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the largest investment in infrastructure and coastal resiliency in the history of our state.
In Baton Rouge, there’s endless traffic because a more than 50-year-old bridge strangles the flow of Interstate 10 traffic. In Lake Charles, drivers give silent prayers while crossing the rundown Calcasieu River Bridge. In New Orleans, streets flood too often and an inadequate sewer system is regularly overwhelmed.
In northwest Louisiana and Lafayette, a long-overdue need to complete Interstate 49 north and south limits the area’s economic potential and bottlenecks evacuation routes during disasters. In rural areas across the state, the lack of broadband internet access hinders our children’s education and forces them to move elsewhere to find opportunities after graduation. In every corner of our state without adequate flood mitigation, families worry if their houses may flood every heavy rainfall.
Our bipartisan legislation has the ability to address these problems and all new spending in the bill is offset by decreasing spending elsewhere in the federal budget.
To be clear, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act we are supporting is not the reckless $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending spree Democrats are pushing. These are completely separate. I, along with every Republican in Congress, am strongly opposed to the other Democrats-only bill. Unlike our hard infrastructure bill that is spread over 5-plus years, creates jobs, and makes investment in roads, bridges, airports, ports and waterways that will last for decades, their plan dumps jet fuel on President Joe Biden’s bonfire of inflation.
This is good legislation that solves pressing issues in our state. It has $6 billion for Louisiana to rebuild and improve our roads and highways. It has $40 billion to rebuild bridges nationwide. With 12% of our bridges in poor or worse condition, Louisiana stands to get our fair share. Another $2.5 billion will go to coastal storm risk management and hurricane and storm damage reduction projects specifically for states like Louisiana. It provides billions in funding for communities to expand their drainage systems and implement other mitigation projects to prevent homes from flooding.
Louisiana will receive at least $100 million to expand internet access to rural and low-income communities. This will bring investment, business, and job opportunities to strengthen local economies.
Additional Louisiana projects that could benefit from these dollars include southwest Louisiana coastal protection and the Morganza to the Gulf project. There is $109 million for Louisiana projects from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge and repair damages caused by hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta, $808 million for the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and $251 million for flooding and coastal emergencies, which directly benefit our state. It also contains billions for ecosystem and coastal resiliency including $53 million for the Lake Pontchartrain Resiliency Program.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act reduces permitting times that needlessly delay projects and waste hundreds of millions of dollars. It makes a serious investment in carbon sequestration technology. This will bring industry to Louisiana and employ our pipefitters, now out of work due to Biden’s decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline.
This is just a portion of the benefits for Louisiana in this bill.
I came to Washington to get a job done. That’s what Louisiana sent me here to do. This bill will shorten your commute time, lessen the chance of flooding in your home, create jobs, and extend broadband internet to schools, families and businesses. It does this all in a fiscally responsible way. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a good bill. You have to be in the room to push things in the right direction for Louisiana. That’s what I’ve done and intend to continue doing for our state.