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Mayor Hunter reflects on Pres. Biden’s visit to Lake Charles

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 8:35 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Publicly, Mayor Nic Hunter introduced President Biden calling for the need of a great American response, citing the dire need for a new interstate bridge and support for disaster relief.

Mayor Hunter says he was granted a few minutes to speak with the president in private.

“I was told that I would have a few minutes with the president. So, I realize that I couldn’t go in with a laundry list of 20 things to talk about,” Mayor Hunter said. “So, I chose three things that I felt I could talk about, each one, within one or two minutes.”

The three priorities he touched on included the need for a new bridge, hurricane recovery and a request for the president to follow up on Tomeu Vadel and the CITGO 6.

Now, 253 days after Hurricane Laura, Southwest Louisiana has yet to receive federal funding to aid with hurricane relief.

“We have seen the best of humanity through this crisis, but we have a limited amount of human and financial capital in this city. And we’re an important American city. We are a great American city. And we need the proper federal response, and that includes a supplemental disaster package.”

With the future of the bridge still uncertain, Mayor Hunter explains there needs to be funding coming in the next few months.

“It is my strong desire to see the bridge built without a toll. If a toll is the absolute only option, I would prefer a toll than to have no new bridge at all. But if an infrastructure plan, if an infrastructure package passes through Washington D.C., we would be fools not to try to take advantage of that plan here in Louisiana and here in Southwest Louisiana,” said Mayor Hunter. “I do believe in the coming months, there needs to be some identified funding for the bridge.”

While he doesn’t expect these results to happen overnight, Mayor Hunter is hopeful after the president’s visit.

“The best answer I can give is time will tell. If in six months we are still in the exact same position as we are today, with disaster relief, and we still are not closer to a new I-10 bridge, then I would probably have a negative answer. But if President Biden heard my pleas and heard from others who were there and had a moment to talk with him. And if that inspired some cooperation that can take place between the president and Congress to help Southwest Louisiana, then it was a good day.”

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