Local stakeholders hope the I-10 bridge project is full speed ahead under Biden administration

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 2:58 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The future of the Calcasieu bridge project is a looming question for folks in southwest Louisiana after the change in administrations at the White House. Local stakeholders are unsure what roadblocks might lay ahead.

“It’s such a critical piece of infrastructure and it’s been delayed for over 30 years,” said Keith DuRousseau, chairman of the I-10 Task Force.

DuRousseau is looking for signs that the recently installed Biden administration will follow through with helping to replace the bridge. It is a critical link in the I-10 chain and DuRousseau says its current dilapidated state is an economic liability.

“It will have international impacts on all of the production and refining and manufacturing support that goes on within that corridor,” said DuRousseau.

DuRousseau is hoping the Biden administration can pick up where the last administration left off with federal grants, but he does not know which funds will be available under the new leadership. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) says he is optimistic the project will remain on track with its public-private partnership plan. He believes a federal infrastructure package is on the horizon which will greatly help the funding process.

“Biden becoming the president is not going to stop the progress we have made over the last four years,” said Higgins.

Higgins thinks the Biden administration will go bigger on infrastructure spending than the Trump administration would have. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently spoke with the Gray Television Washington News Bureau to discuss their approach.

“The dollars that we summon to invest in American infrastructure are a classic example of an investment that really will pay for itself,” said Secretary Buttigieg.

The I-10 Task force believes every year their new bridge is delayed, the cost of building increases by $25 million. Secretary Buttigieg says the U.S. needs to spend money now on infrastructure overhauls.

“The U.S. should be leading the way not catching up when it comes to the quality of our infrastructure,” said Secretary Buttigieg.

The Biden administration recently met with senators on a possible infrastructure package, but it is unclear when the package will come together.

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