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Direct impacts could soon be felt in Central Louisiana after House passes President Biden’s $1T infrastructure bill

Published: Nov. 6, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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CENTRAL LOUISIANA (KALB) - Late Friday night, the U.S. House passed President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill by a 228-206 vote. Louisiana’s Republican Delegation in the House voted against the infrastructure bill.

This package is expected to have major impacts across the nation especially in Central Louisiana with improvements to roadways and internet access.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy described the infrastructure bill as, “the best way to reinvest in the country.” Cassidy was a lead author in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which is predicted to bring $6 billion to the state.

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed IIJA by a vote of 69-30 in August.

“Passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill is a major victory for Louisiana and our country,” said Senator Cassidy. “This is money only for infrastructure, the infrastructure we need.”

Louisiana, a state that has been slammed by natural disasters over the last 15 months, will see direct impacts from this bill. It includes $110 billion to rebuild roads and bridges across the nation that need repair. This will also authorize the I-14 corridor, an interstate that will run from Georgia to Texas passing right through Leesville and Alexandria which could boost the local economy.

I-14 would also connect military bases across five states including Fort Polk while also providing travelers with an alternative route separate from I-10.

“Interstate 14 is a wonderful addition to the United States, and of course across the state of Louisiana,” said District 30 State Representative Chuck Owen. “If this really went through, and if it’s really going to happen, I’d say I could not be happier. I will believe it when I see it, because I do not trust the party in power.”

Another $65 billion would go towards giving tens of thousands of Louisiana residents better access to broadband. In the digital age, high-speed internet is no longer a privilege but a necessity, especially for education.

District 27 State Representative Mike Johnson has been vocal about the importance of finding ways to improve broadband. Johnson said despite being opposed to the bill, there are some benefits we can see locally.

“I’m not supportive of deficit spending that’s going to do that, but unfortunately I don’t have a vote at the congressional level,” said Representative Johnson. “What I can say is, towards our efforts in trying to provide more reliable broadband for every citizen, it will provide more resources to do that.”

Johnson said he will be involved to make sure that the money is spent effectively on a local level. He added that there is now more than enough money to accomplish the goal of providing broadband availability to every resident.

“It’s a matter of whether our national government will spend it appropriately and whether or not my colleagues, who I believe agree with me, will spend it appropriately in the state,” said Johnson.

Airports across the state will also soon benefit from the infrastructure package. $25 billion will be going towards airport expansions, rebuilding runways and air navigation facilities across the state.

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