Gov. Edwards proposes $100 million in next budget toward new I-10 bridge

The I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge
The I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge(Credit: KPLC)
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 5:56 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Gov. John Bel Edwards is proposing $100 million toward a new I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu River in a state budget plan released Monday.

The $100 million for the Calcasieu River bridge is part of more than $1 billion in proposed infrastructure funding, including $500 million for a new I-10 bridge over the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, $100 million for the I-49 Lafayette connector, and $500 million for water and sewer improvements around the state.

According to the Public Affairs Research Council, Louisiana has $699 million in surplus from last year’s budget, and $1.4 billion left over from federal pandemic aid. There is also $847 million in additional money in the current year. That does not include money from the recently passed federal infrastructure bill.

State law dictates what must be done with the $699 million - surplus funds must be used for “one-time” expenses. The $1.4 billion left over from the American Rescue Plan has some restrictions, but there are few limitations on how the $847 million has to be spent, according to PAR.

PAR released the breakdown as part of a call for transparency in how the money is spent.

Pres. Joe Biden discussed the need for a new Calcasieu River bridge when discussing the infrastructure bill on Jan. 14, but details on how much of that money will be apportioned toward a new I-10 bridge have not been released.

The bridge is estimated to cost between $600 million and $800 million, according to the state Department of Transportation and Development.

The Department of Transportation said in 2020 that it was committing $85 million toward a public-private partnership to build a new bridge.

In April 2021, $30 million was allocated toward the bridge from the 2020 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

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