Locals react to president’s budget proposal for transportation dollars

Federal transportation cuts

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Millions of vehicles traverse state highways and bridges, and members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation reacted recently to parts of President Trump’s budget proposal that impact federal transportation spending.

Trump’s proposed 2020 budget calls for a $5.9 billion or 22 percent decrease in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s discretionary budget.

And the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is delving into the possible effect on the state.

"We have yet to determine the impacts but continue to look into it. This administration is dedicated to improving the state’s infrastructure using innovative funding means as demonstrated by the use of GARVEE bonds, Infra-grants and public private partnerships,” said a DOTD spokeswoman.

Aside from the federal Transportation Department budget, the president’s overall budget calls for spending $200 billion on infrastructure.

"I have conversations several times a week, sometimes several times a day, about the need to address the pent-up demand for increased infrastructure spending. Whether it’s repair of bridges or new bridges. I can go down the list,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA.

Republican Sen. John Kennedy discussed how he would like to see the state benefit.

"Help us with, number one, roads; help us, number two, with drainage. We have a terrible flooding problem in Louisiana, as part of roads I would include bridges, but the state of Louisiana is going to have to do its part,” said Kennedy.

Earlier this week the State Bond Commission agreed to sell bonds to provide money for several major projects.

"Central Louisiana wants an east-west freeway, Baton Rouge wants a new bridge and New Orleans wants a new roadway to their new airport, and that’s just the start of the list. There’s a lot of pent up demand for infrastructure,” said Cassidy.

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