One of the best ways to ignite the economy is to build things. Louisiana has an $18B backlog of roads, bridges, ports, and airports that need to be built, upgraded, repaved, or expanded and our roads are rated a D+ by the American Society of Civil Engineers. We have lots of work to do. I will maximize transportation funding by instituting operational efficiencies and prioritizing critical need areas. And I will protect our state’s working coastline and support investments and policies that enable us to build back smarter and stronger for our state’s long-term resiliency.” – Sharon Hewitt
To maximize the state’s dedicated transportation dollars, I will overhaul how the Department of Transportation funds projects to direct more resources to actual engineering and construction, rather than overhead. And I will shorten the cycle time required for projects by pushing more money and decision-making to the local districts instead of Baton Rouge. It shouldn’t take 10 years to build a turning lane.
While maintaining the roads in rural Louisiana, I will also provide more funding for adding additional roads or new lanes in our high-growth areas to eliminate traffic gridlock.
Bridges will be a much higher priority in my administration, not just the Mississippi River Bridge and the Calcasieu River Bridge, but all of the thousand or so bridges across the Bayou State. Currently 125 bridges in Louisiana are closed, with hundreds more at risk of being shut down due to their deteriorated condition and the lack of a proactive plan to replace or repair them before it is too late. Having bridges out of service creates problems during hurricane evacuations and adds time and cost to our commuters and businesses who have to be rerouted. We can do better.
Ports continue to be one of the best investments of infrastructure dollars because of the commerce associated with imports and exports and the good-paying jobs they create. With the Mississippi River running through our state and the Gulf of Mexico at our doorstep, Louisiana should be a dominant player in the shipping industry. As Governor, I will create a regional port commission to allow our ports collectively to dominate ports in neighboring states.
As Governor, I will continue the roughly $1B investment Louisiana is dedicating to coastal restoration and protection projects every year to protect our coastal residents from repeated floods and hurricanes.
Across Louisiana, our small water and sewage systems are in crisis. Billions of dollars are needed to bring these systems up to par. I will work with local governments to identify opportunities for small systems to consolidate or join larger municipal systems to leverage capacity. And I will continue to support use of one-time money for the Water Sector Commission’s efforts to fund necessary repairs to keep our drinking water safe and our sewer systems functioning.
I will continue to support the efforts of Connect Louisiana to leverage federal funds to expand affordable high-speed internet across Louisiana. In the 21st Century, no household should be without the ability to access educational, health and employment resources because they don’t have an internet connection. Not only will this effort bring vital connections to our residents it will put our people to work building out the infrastructure needed to support this growing industry.
Having served on the Senate Transportation Committee, Sharon knows all too well the deficiency in our state’s infrastructure and has championed solutions, including ensuring revenue from the state’s gas tax goes to actual projects. Sharon just doesn’t talk about what needs to be done, she’s actually rolled up her sleeves and passed legislation that will build our coast, protect our homes and businesses, and improve resiliency.
As a State Senator, Sharon Hewitt has: