Graves Supports Passage of Landmark Highway Bill
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Garret Graves (R – South Louisiana) announced today House passage of the landmark Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act. The six-year bill contains important Graves provisions that strategically position critical Louisiana transportation projects like I-10 in Baton Rouge and LA 1 in South Louisiana for competitive federal funding. Graves was also appointed today to the exclusive House-Senate conference committee that will negotiate the final details of the bill.
“The Capital Region suffers from some of the worst traffic in the country, including one of the only places in the nation where the interstate drops down to one lane – the Washington Street exit,” said Graves. “Our roads are decades behind where they need to be and the traffic delays are strangling our economy and taking time away from our families. The traffic jams that our drivers are forced to sit through are daily reminders of government failure.”
Several provisions in the bill could have a direct impact on South Louisiana. These include:
- The creation of the National Significant Freight and Highway Projects program, which will provide transportation funding for major national or regional projects. This includes $4.5 billion over 6 years of competitive grants for projects costing at least $100 million.
- A Graves amendment to prioritize projects to increase capacity of highway segments to improve mobility under the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program (i.e., I-10).
- A Graves amendment to allow consideration for projects to improve energy security under the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program (i.e., LA-1).
- A technology initiative pushed by Graves to better leverage innovation to make more efficient use of existing roads.
“This new competitive grant program presents tremendous opportunity for South Louisiana. I can think of no better project than alleviating the massive bottleneck along I-10, a national corridor heavily used by national freight, regional and local traffic. States will ultimately compete for funding amongst themselves, but I am confident that I-10 is well positioned,” continued Graves.
This bill will provide opportunities for state and local authorities to pursue long-term solutions like a new river crossing in the Capital Region, while concurrently implementing short and mid-term options, like leveraging existing technologies in ways that could improve flow and minimize the need for new capacity.
I look forward to the opportunity further impact this bill and continue advocating on behalf of South Louisiana in conference.”