East Baton Rouge Council Chambers, 222 St. Louis Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Field Hearing “Need to Invest Federal Funding to Relieve Traffic Congestion and Improve Our Roads and Bridges at the State and Local Level”

Good morning and thank you for joining me in Baton Rouge today for the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on the need to invest federal funding to relieve traffic congestion and improve our roads and bridges at the State and local level.

I would also like to thank our witnesses for being here today:

  • Sherri LeBas, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
  • Roy Quezaire, Deputy Director of the Port of South Louisiana
  • Ken Perret, President of the Louisiana Good Roads and Transportation Association
  • Joey Coco, Representing the American Society of Civil Engineers

Today we will discuss ways to relieve traffic congestion so we can carry out our daily routines, like picking up the kids from school, and how we can improve and update our roads and bridges. We will also discuss a number of issues, like my efforts to pass a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill that would help to maintain and modernize our transportation infrastructure.

Improving and updating our nation’s infrastructure is not a partisan issue. As the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, I am optimistic of writing and implementing the necessary reforms our nation has waited for for too long.

Last year I worked to pass the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act, a long-term bipartisan bill to reauthorize the nation’s transportation programs for six years at current funding plus inflation, through the EPW Committee. This year, I’m working to make sure the new highway bill will help alleviate traffic congestion in Louisiana.

Those of you here today are quite familiar with the major traffic issues in Greater Baton Rouge. Both Baton Rouge and New Orleans rank in the top 25 in the nation in traffic congestion. That’s why I’m going to make sure the new highway bill includes a new freight program that will relieve congestion by targeting funds to build additional lanes and improve the flow of commerce along our nation’s highways.

Louisiana’s bridges also need major repairs and updates. Currently, our state ranks 10th in the nation in the most deficient bridges. I’ve working on legislation that will give locals more flexibility to “bundle” projects together. This bundling will streamline approval process, consolidate unnecessary paper work, and maximize efficiency to complete projects ahead of time.

We also need to make sure that major projects like I-49 South and LA 1 have the resources they need to be completed on time.

These are just a few of the major traffic issues Louisiana is facing today, and I look forward to discussing possible solutions with our expert witnesses today.

Thank you again for joining me.