Graves Announces $14,350,478 in Lagniappe Funds to Address Traffic Problems, Urges for Investment in Highest Priority Areas to Bolster Louisiana’s Future Competitiveness and Economic Stability
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) announced $14,350,478 in federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and notified Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson today. Graves plans to work with the state to push for South Louisiana projects to receive additional funding, building on top of the $1 billion in new grants, formula funding and reallocation dollars Graves has secured through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
“With some of the worst traffic in the country, these additional federal transportation funds for Louisiana can be invested in a number of our bottleneck roads and transportation priorities. These new federal funds are arriving at the right time to help solve real transportation needs in our community. These funds, when stacked on top of the extra $1 billion dollars we’ve secured, will show long-needed progress in addressing our traffic problems,” Graves said. “This is the result of all stakeholders coming together to address our traffic congestion, deteriorating transportation infrastructure and the dire need to make the right investments that will put us in a better position to get the new Mississippi River bridge faster. Even just this week as Hurricane Laura made landfall, people across the world saw first-hand the countless videos and pictures of LA-1 flooded and I-10 closed which demonstrated in real time how important it is for us to work together at the state, federal and local levels to get these projects completed as soon as possible. Every single penny, and every second spent, will be vital to our success and I look forward to working together to deliver results.”
To view the letter notfiying Wilson of the funds, click here.
In December 2015, Graves helped to finalize negotiations on the five-year highway funding bill, the FAST Act, which included many provisions designed to address Louisiana’s traffic problems and substantial increases in federal highway funding for Louisiana. As a co-author and conferee to the landmark legislative committee, Graves was able to secure several items from the FAST Act.
Under the FAST Act that Graves’ co-authored, projects such as the Terrace St. Exit, Pecue Exit, I-10 widening from Highland Rd. to LA-73, LA-1 from Leeville to Golden Meadow, and I-10 improvements in Lafayette, and the designation of the Capital Region as a High Priority Corridor have become a reality.
The next transportation surface bill would amend and reauthorize federal aid for highways and transit programs as the existing infrastructure authorization, passed by Congress in 2015, expires on September 30, 2020. The next legislation will set our nation’s priorities for decades.
- Graves serves on the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation, which had marked up the surface transportation package H.R. 2 – Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act.
- Republican committee members offered their own bill to H.R. 2, the Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology & Efficient Review (STARTER) Act. Click here for a list of amendments that were considered, including nearly two dozen of Graves’, for H.R. 2.
- In June 2020, Graves spoke during the markup of the 2020 Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill in the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee as they reauthorized the bipartisan highway and infrastructure funding bill.
- On November 3, 2015, Graves spoke on the U.S. House Floor about the new competitive grant program and offered the amendment to prioritize projects that alleviate bottlenecks in substandard interstate systems, i.e., Interstate 10. I-10 Eastbound coming of the Mississippi River bridge is one of the only places in the country that the interstate drops down to one lane - causing unacceptable and painfully long traffic jams for motorists in the Capital Region. The amendment aimed to increase our ability to compete for these federal dollars so that we can get our roads moving.
- In October 2015, Graves introduced the provisions to promote LA-1 as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee prepared to mark up the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill designed to increase funding and provide improvements to infrastructure projects across the country.
- The FAST Act provided a $500 million boost to Louisiana’s federal transportation funding and included the new, $1 billion annual grant program.
- LA-1 recently received a $135 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to construct approximately 8.3 miles of elevated highway from Leeville Bridge to Golden Meadow. Graves’ amendment to the FAST Act requires that projects which support national energy security receive priority consideration for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program.
- Graves first brought this national energy security idea to Secretary Elaine Chao on November 2, 2017.
- On August 30, 2018, Graves announced the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $80,699,190 in new federal funding to Louisiana to advance the I-10 interchange at Pecue Lane.
- The FAST Act also provided $100 million more in federal transportation grant funds that have resulted in the Terrace/Washington street exit reconfiguration and I-10 lane addition (Highland Road to Prairieville/Dutchtown exit). Graves spoke at the construction ceremony for the work to begin the reconfiguration of the Washington St. exit, what Graves called a game-changer and a smart fix for a stupid problem.