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Funding from bipartisan infrastructure bill expected for Southwest Louisiana

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 7:41 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - This week, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, and billions from that bill are expected to come to Louisiana.

Sen. Bill Cassidy calls this a “major victory.” A victory that will help the whole state, and bring Southwest Louisiana another step closer to building a new bridge.

Drivers and local leaders agree that a new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge is long overdue.

“I’m always kind of tensing up that I’m just going to drop in like on a movie, you know,” resident Davis Soileau said. “The bridge is going to fall apart. It’s scary.”

Soileau following the hurricanes, a lot of rebuilding and repairing is needed.

“There’s still so many roads without street signs. There’s a lot to be done with our infrastructure,” Soileau said. “So, the bridge would be an amazing task to complete.”

Funding for the bridge has been a bit of a roadblock, but with the infrastructure bill, help is on the way.

“We’re getting $5.8 billion for roads and bridges, driven by formula,” Cassidy said. “And that’s $1.2 billion more than we would receive had we just gone the normal route, by the way.”

Aside from the bridge, Cassidy adds that $9 million of the bill will also go to Southwest Louisiana for the Calcasieu Ship Channel to repair damages from Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

“I’d like to see how long it takes to break ground on those revisions and repairs,” Soileau said. “We’ll see, we’ll see what happens with it.”

As to when the funding will reach Louisiana or when these projects will begin, that is still undetermined.

In addition to rebuilding roads and bridges, the infrastructure bill will also help fund increased access to high-speed internet, strengthen the electric grid, add levee protection, and improve flood resiliency.

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