Louisiana House panel votes against Governor's $500 million bridge request

Public hearings about the proposed location of the new bridge begin next week

April 19, 2022 / 2 minute read
Mississippi House panel voted against Governor's $500 million bridge request

The Louisiana House Appropriations Committee voted to place $500 million in a new fund, rejecting Governor John Bel Edwards' request to spend the money on a new Mississippi River bridge.

According to the Business Report, Edwards will continue to advocate for the money to be used on the estimated $2.5 billion Mississippi River bridge project in the Capital Region. 

“It’s past time for a new, new bridge,” Jay Dardenne, Edwards’ commissioner of administration, told the Baton Rouge Press Club. “If not now, when?”

The $500 million represents 20% of the estimated cost of the bridge and the connectors to and from the bridge. Dardenne said that is a fairly typical state match and would demonstrate the project’s importance to the federal government and potential private partners. Competition for federal funding remains challenging.

“Certainty is our ally in this fight,” he says. 

State lawmakers would prefer to spend the $500 million on road and bridge projects across the state, and remain reluctant to dedicate the money to a project several years away without a defined location.  

The House Appropriations decision, as it stands now, dedicates $100 million to be spent on road repair and preservation while $400 million remains undedicated. 

The full House of Representatives plans to discuss the infrastructure proposal, along with the full slate of spending bills advanced, on Thursday. The current session must end by June 6.

Public hearings about the 10 remaining options for a new bridge’s location begin next week, with the first scheduled for Monday, 5-7 p.m. at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library in Baton Rouge. Officials hope to narrow the list to three.

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Source: Business Report

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