BATON ROUGE, La. – (RealEstateRama) — The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognizes Louisiana in a recent publication “The State of Freight II—Implementing the FAST Act and Beyond.”
The article applauds Gov. John Bel Edwards for nearly doubling of the Louisiana Port Construction and Development Priority Program (PCDPP) from $20 million to $39.4 million in the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget. This amount hasn’t been increased since the PCDPP was first created in 1989.
“Investing in the state’s infrastructure is important to the nation, as well as Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Louisiana’s waterways are ranked number one in the nation in total tonnage, and the state has three of the top eight water ports in the United States based on rank by total tonnage. A reliable multimodal transportation system is vital for the economy and the systematic efficient movement of freight. We have worked closely with our federal partners to bring taxpayer money back to Louisiana to invest in infrastructure. It’s also vital for the state to develop recurring funds so we can repair and upgrade our infrastructure, which has been ignored for years.”
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, also known as the FAST Act, was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 4, 2015. It authorizes $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for highways, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology and statistics programs.
“Port improvement projects including intermodal facilities, docks, transit sheds, cargo handling equipment, rail spurs and intermodal connectors have been completed under the PCDPP,” Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., stated in the report. “Having strong, resilient multimodal infrastructure is critical to our country’s economic growth and vitality.”
The FASTLANE (Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies) grant is a competitive grant program that was established in the FAST Act.
In July 2016, Louisiana received $60 million in FASTLANE grant funds – the fourth largest award in the nation. The grant will be used to fund a portion of an I-10 widening project from I-49 to the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. This freed up funds to build a new exit from I-110 to Terrace Avenue to ease congestion at the Washington Street exit in Baton Rouge, advance plans for the I-20/I-220 interchange into Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City and improve railroad crossings on the freight-rail corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
“A robust multimodal infrastructure system that connects all aspects of transportation, such as ports, waterways, rail, aviation and highways is critical to the states commercial strength,” said Tommy Clark, DOTD Commissioner of the Office of Multimodal Commerce. “I look forward to addressing needed state investments that enable us to fully develop a multimodal infrastructure that not only relieves congestion, but strategically aligns our vast assets enhancing statewide commerce opportunities while positioning the state to compete globally.”
Click here to read the report.