Gov. Edwards slams effort to delay infrastructure funding to New Orleans over city’s abortion stance

Politicizing work of Bond Commission is ‘misguided,’ Edwards says
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said efforts by Attorney General Jeff Landry to stall...
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said efforts by Attorney General Jeff Landry to stall infrastructure funding to New Orleans over city leaders' abortion rights stance was 'misguided.'(WVUE-Fox 8)
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:03 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Gov. John Bel Edwards was critical Tuesday (Aug. 23) of efforts to delay state funding for infrastructure projects in New Orleans over city leaders’ stance on abortion rights.

The New Orleans City Council, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and District Attorney Jason Williams have opposed the state’s newly restrictive abortion laws, which ban the procedure in nearly all circumstances.

Williams has said he will not prosecute those who seek abortions or doctors who perform them. The City Council unanimously passed a resolution aimed at protecting people who seek or perform abortions from arrest or prosecution. Cantrell also voiced support for the council’s resolution.

But Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has criticized the city’s position, going to the State Bond Commission and demanding it delay funding for the city.

“It is a misguided effort from the beginning to ever use the Bond Commission, and any of the work it does, to send a political message to anyone for any reason,” Gov. Edwards said Tuesday at a press conference with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Mayorkas was asked to weigh in, but deferred comment on Louisiana’s messy politics to the state’s leadership.

“Emergency management is not a partisan issue,” Mayorkas said. “It speaks to the health and well-being of the residents of this city, and this state.”

At Landry’s urging, around $39 million in funding has been blocked by the Bond Commission for the West Power Complex. That’s a planned $200 million project to improve the Sewerage and Water Board’s capacity to power pumps across the city and upgrade the reliability of New Orleans’ drinking water system.

Edwards said he’s confident when the issue goes back before the commission next month, the funding will be approved. He said the stalled money hasn’t technically slowed progress on the project because it is intended to fund later phases of the project.

Edwards and Cantrell touted ongoing S&WB projects, including the Water Hammer Hazard Mitigation Program, a $110 million project paid for with FEMA funds that includes improvements to the Claiborne Pumping Station and two large water towers at the Carrollton Water Treatment Plant.

Leaders said they are hopeful further infusions of federal dollars will help fund the West Power Complex.

Edwards warned residents not to let their guard down, saying Louisiana is far from being out of hurricane season.

“Historically, the peak of hurricane season is Sept. 10. We’re not there yet,” Edwards said. “We still have a lot of work to do. While we pray for the best, we need to prepare for the worst.”

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