Louisiana will get its share of the greater than $1 trillion in infrastructure spending that President Joe Biden and Congress are sending to states, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated Friday.

However he doesn’t have any information but for state officers and residents clamoring for approval of their favored tasks, Buttigieg stated in an interview on the Essence Competition in New Orleans, earlier than showing on a panel with two different cupboard officers.

Louisiana has a protracted want checklist, together with expanded passenger rail for New Orleans, the doable removing of the Claiborne Expressway and a brand new bridge for Baton Rouge.

The state’s largest request is for $600 million in federal {dollars} to construct a brand new bridge over the Calcasieu River in Lake Charles, Shawn Wilson, the state secretary of Transportation and Growth, stated in a separate interview.

That cash would theoretically come from a $150 billion mega-project fund authorized in a bipartisan vote by Congress in August as a part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package deal. U.S. Sen. Invoice Cassidy supported the laws, whereas U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, additionally a Republican, opposed it.

“The secretary has the final word discretion on mega-projects,” Wilson stated. He later texted a reporter a photograph of him and Buttigieg collectively, saying that they had a very good go to.

This yr, Louisiana legislators and Gov. John Bel Edwards allotted $200 million from the state’s development price range for the Lake Charles bridge. In all, the price will likely be a minimum of $1.5 billion, Wilson stated.

He added that it’s too quickly for Louisiana to make a giant ask for a brand new bridge in Baton Rouge that may cross the Mississippi River. Officers have but to decide on the crossing website, having narrowed the contenders to a few places south of the Interstate 10 bridge.

Wilson additionally stated it’s too early for the state to hunt a giant pot of federal {dollars} for the deliberate growth of Interstate 49 south of Lafayette. However he stated native officers are requesting smaller quantities of cash to make some enhancements.

Buttigieg stated native backing for tasks is essential, a view he stated he holds as a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who tried to safe Division of Transportation {dollars} for his metropolis.

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“It’s essential for us to be a very good associate, the place to the extent doable you might have completely different native gamers and the state singing off the identical sheet of music,” he stated. “It makes it loads simpler for us to come back in and assist get that funding moved.”

Like Biden, who commuted by way of Amtrak for years to Washington from his residence in Wilmington, Buttigieg favors boosting passenger rail.

The state is in search of federal {dollars} to assist set up a rail line connecting New Orleans and Baton Rouge, particularly with coming roadwork that may snarl Interstate 10 visitors in Baton Rouge, Wilson stated. He added that he hopes to determine passenger rail as an interim step for commuters from Sorrento and Prairieville to Baton Rouge.

The state can be awaiting federal authorization to re-establish passenger rail between New Orleans and Cell, which was severed after Hurricane Katrina. That’s a precedence of U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, a Democrat from New Orleans.

“A whole lot of the alternatives for passenger rail are in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast,” Buttigieg stated. “A part of it’s funding, however a part of it’s having the precise assist for passenger rail when it’s operating on strains which can be owned by the freight railways. Freight railroads have a enterprise duty, however in addition they have a obligation to be good hosts to passenger rail when it’s on their steel.”

State officers are additionally in search of some funding to make enhancements across the Claiborne Expressway, Wilson stated, below the “Reconnecting Communities” plan introduced on Thursday by Buttigieg. It’s a five-year program with $1 billion to spend in all 50 states.

Merely eradicating the Claiborne Expressway and enhancing the affected streetscape would price “billions,” Wilson stated. However the Reconnecting Communities program would possibly ship cash to spruce up the realm beneath the elevated expressway or take down one or two off-ramps which can be poorly located.

“Every group will provide you with its reply,” Buttigieg stated. “Generally it’s a wholesale rerouting or removing. Generally it’s a extra modest measure that means that you can recover from or below it in a means that’s extra pleasant to the neighborhood and group. What we’re going to do is search for the community-driven purposes after which assist as many good purposes as we will.”

Jefferson Parish is in search of federal {dollars} to reroute the Gulf Coast freight line that cuts via downtown Gretna to Plaquemines Parish. The brand new location can be the commercial space parallel to Peters Highway.

Buttigieg was not able to touch upon that utility both, however stated shifting freight strains are a “large deal” for communities that need the rail strains moved.