Federal and state lawmakers seek funding for construction of new bridge

BATON ROUGE – The wheels may not turn fast enough on a drive to fix dilapidated roads and bridges, but they roll.

A bipartisan infrastructure plan has been presented to the White House. It would move $ 1 trillion toward transportation improvements and could fund the construction of a new bridge over the Mississippi River.

“I can tell you that we have great legislation,” said US Senator Bill Cassidy.

Cassidy, along with nine other lawmakers, developed the federal spending bill. If approved, the new bridge would be a priority project in Louisiana, with the replacement of the Calcasieu River Bridge and the expansion of several 6-lane highways.

“There is enough money in this current bill to fund all of these projects. It may take a while, but we will have the funding,” Cassidy said.

There is a similar effort to fund the new State Capitol Bridge. A bill tabled in the governor’s office would extend a temporary sales tax and use that money for construction, among other projects.

The bill’s author, Representative Tanner Magee, told WBRZ he believes Governor John Bel Edwards will sign it.

Federal legislation, however, faces more roadblocks. Part of the money would come from reallocating COVID stimulus money, as well as adjusting the national gas tax rate to reflect inflation. Cassidy says the president won’t agree to this.

“If the administration does not like this particular problem, it offers an alternative. But also be aware that when a mother is waiting to pick up her child from school and she has to commute an extra half hour for s ‘Going there, there’s a time value for this mother,’ Cassidy said.

With the two bills, there is a movement on upgrading infrastructure, but the projects are stuck until approved.

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