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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Garret Graves (6th District of Louisiana)

October 26, 2020

Press Release

Another vital investment in the Capital Region transportation infrastructure due to Graves’ legislation

BATON ROUGE, LA – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) released the following statement after the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced they were putting the final touches on the Interstate 10 widening project between East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes. The project widens Interstate 10 from four lanes to six lanes between Highland Road and LA 73 in Ascension Parish, saves up to 15 minutes of travel, and was funded by additional dollars to Louisiana made possible through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act which Graves helped negotiate. 

“We have spent years fighting for the right investments to address our traffic congestion, deteriorating transportation infrastructure and real transportation needs in our community. This widening project is another example of how if we work together to invest our federal dollars into the right areas, we can save both time and money for all that use our transportation infrastructure,” Graves said. “And building a stronger and more resilient South Louisiana means taking all the different components – whether it’s passing transportation legislation in Congress such as the FAST Act, modernizing our project reviews, or securing lagniappe funds – and applying them to the same overall goal of making the right changes we need.”

As a co-author and conferee to the landmark legislative committee, Graves helped to finalize negotiations on the highway funding bill, the FAST Act, which included many provisions designed to address Louisiana’s traffic problems and substantial increases in federal highway funding for Louisiana. This legislation paved the way for projects to become a reality such as the Terrace St. Exit, Pecue Exit, I-10 widening from Highland Rd. to LA-73, LA-1 from Leeville to Golden Meadow, and I-10 improvements in Lafayette.

Graves is now leading the national effort to modernize permitting to expedite infrastructure project reviews to improve efficiency, reduce project costs, spur economic recovery and rebuild America. If modernized, Louisiana’s coastal restoration projects, transportation projects and energy infrastructure priorities would stand to benefit if fast tracked – stimulating economic development and job opportunities. Graves’ bill, which codifies many of the actions taken by this Administration earlier this year, is backed by the Ranking Members of multiple U.S. House committees and the Republican Leadership of the U.S. House.

In August, Graves also announced $14,350,478 in additional federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help bolster Louisiana’s future competitiveness and economic stability. The funds build on top of the $1 billion in new grants, formula funding and reallocation dollars Graves has secured through the FAST Act.

To read more about the Interstate 10 widening project, click here.

Background:

  • Graves serves on the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation, which had marked up the surface transportation package H.R. 2 – Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act.
    • Republican committee members offered their own bill to H.R. 2, the Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology & Efficient Review (STARTER) Act. Click here for a list of amendments that were considered, including nearly two dozen of Graves’, for H.R. 2.
    • In June 2020, Graves spoke during the markup of the 2020 Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill in the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee as they reauthorized the bipartisan highway and infrastructure funding bill.
  • On November 3, 2015, Graves spoke on the U.S. House Floor about the new competitive grant program and offered the amendment to prioritize projects that alleviate bottlenecks in substandard interstate systems, i.e., Interstate 10. I-10 Eastbound coming of the Mississippi River bridge is one of the only places in the country that the interstate drops down to one lane – causing unacceptable and painfully long traffic jams for motorists in the Capital Region. The amendment aimed to increase our ability to compete for these federal dollars so that we can get our roads moving.
  • The FAST Act provided a $500 million boost to Louisiana’s federal transportation funding and included the new, $1 billion annual grant program.
    • In October 2015, Graves introduced the provisions to promote LA-1 as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee prepared to mark up the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization bill designed to increase funding and provide improvements to infrastructure projects across the country.
    • LA-1 received a $135 million grant this year from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to construct approximately 8.3 miles of elevated highway from Leeville Bridge to Golden Meadow. Graves’ amendment to the FAST Act requires that projects which support national energy security receive priority consideration for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program.
    • Graves first brought this national energy security idea to Secretary Elaine Chao on November 2, 2017.
  • On August 30, 2018, Graves announced the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded $80,699,190 in new federal funding to Louisiana to advance the I-10 interchange at Pecue Lane.
  • The FAST Act also provided $100 million more in federal transportation grant funds that have resulted in the Terrace/Washington street exit reconfiguration and I-10 lane addition (Highland Road to Prairieville/Dutchtown exit). Graves spoke at the construction ceremony for the work to begin the reconfiguration of the Washington St. exit, what Graves called a game-changer and a smart fix for a stupid problem.

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