Local group tries to secure more federal funding for a new I-10 bridge

(Source: Louisiana Digital Library)
(Source: Louisiana Digital Library)
Published: Apr. 18, 2018 at 5:51 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2018 at 6:18 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A possible plan is in the works to secure federal funding for a new I-10 bridge.

Does this mean we are any closer to solving our bridge problem?

We aren't the only ones who are having infrastructure issues. It's become a nationwide struggle, and with federal funding for infrastructure projects in doubt, something needs to be done.

"The clock is ticking and time is running out," said SWLA Economic Development Alliance President George Swift. "So, we need to do all that we can, as a business organization, to put the pressure on our elected officials and the state highway department to make this a real priority."

George Swift and the SWLA Economic Development Alliance are preparing to work with a new national organization, formed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The group, Americans for Transportation Mobility, is trying to secure more federal funding for infrastructure since there is no clear plan on how to fund President Trump's infrastructure proposal.

The president's plan calls for turning $200 billion in federal money into $1.5 trillion, by leveraging local and state tax dollars and private investment.

"Governor Brown of Mississippi announced he's closing 102 bridges in Mississippi, so this is a national problem of lack of funding for infrastructure, but we need to focus on our projects here in Southwest Louisiana," said Swift. "With all the economic growth, we have increased traffic."

A.T.M. recognizes I-10 as a priority.

"We think ours is very critical in the I-10 system, coast-to-coast, from California to Florida," said Swift. "So, that's our priority and it does have a great impact on our nation's energy because of all the industry we have here and transportation."

The group believes there needs to be a solution for funding now.

"We know we're going to need a local financial match, whether it's a federal-state combination or private funding," said Swift. "That's what we're working on, how we're going to come up with a local match."

Before any movement can be made on a new bridge, the re-decking of the 210 bridge needs to be complete. Which, when started, is expected to take around two to three years.

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