Ilja Poised to Help Bayou Region
On November 15th President Biden signed into law the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The original Democratic infrastructure proposal had outlined $2.6 trillion in spending, including on additional sectors such as public housing and research and development. The $1.2 trillion Senate bill allocated $550 billion in new spending on transportation, water and power infrastructure, and pollution cleanup, in addition to regular annual spending on infrastructure projects.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy calls the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to benefit Louisiana. Cassidy explained that the plan includes north of $500 billion in new funding that will go toward roads, bridges, coastal restoration, hardening “the grid,” providing reliable high-speed access to every American, and more.
The states to be prioritized are the states that have been hit by natural disasters over the last six years.
Regarding broadband internet, he said that the parishes and counties with no or inadequate high-speed internet coverage are the ones that will be prioritized.
“That includes the Bayou; that includes a lot of Louisiana,” Cassidy said. “And so it’s going to help us tremendously.”
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said he believes the Houma-Thibodaux area will benefit as much or more than any other coastal region from the infrastructure bill approved by Congress.
Cassidy, a lead author, said the bill’s passage is a great feeling.
“I truly think that there are families out there whose lives will be better,” said Cassidy
For Terrebonne and Lafourche, Cassidy said the parishes are “front and center” on the issue of losing coastlines. He said the bill includes money for coastal restoration projects and that states recently hit by natural disasters are being prioritized.
“That speaks to these two parishes,” he said, adding that money for ports, waterways and flood-prevention projects is also important to the region.
Cassidy said the measure’s passage shows “Congress is capable of putting the needs of the American people first,” he said.
“There’s so much politics in Washington that people vote against, good legislation, because they don’t like the politics of the people who are promoting it,” he said. “The way I look at it, we should put the American people first and politics second. The infrastructure bill puts the American people first.”
Gov. John Edwards said that the Infrastructure Act is a “big win” for Louisiana as it will allow the state to advance long-overdue and much-needed major road and bridge projects, as well as help expand high-speed internet access.
“These bipartisan investments will be nothing short of transformational,” Edwards said.
Over the next five years, he said, the investment will create a “more resilient transportation system that can better withstand disruptions from extreme weather.”
“Louisiana’s aging infrastructure will receive improvements that create a better overall quality of life for all users, expand the economy and provide a more reliable transportation system for citizens and businesses in Louisiana,” Edwards said.