Project to Rescue La. Port Highway from Floods Gets Boost from Bush Administration

May 19, 2005

Louisiana’s plans to rescue the highway to Port Fourchon from floods got a boost this week from U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta when he announced final approval of a $66 million federal loan for the project during a visit to the port.

The loan program will help the state build a 17-mile elevated toll highway, known as LA 1, connecting the port to land less susceptible to flooding, according to Mineta.

“It is clear that a two-lane road that floods at the sight of rain is no
longer adequate to service this vital gulf port,” Mineta said.

He noted that when the road floods, or when an accident snarls traffic,
off-shore oil and gas production is slowed, and fishing boats can’t get their catch to market on time.

Secretary Mineta said the loan is made possible through a program called TIFIA, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation
Act. The loan announced will help with Phase 1 of this project which
includes; construction of a two-lane elevated highway south of Leeville to Port Fourchon; construction of a fixed-span, high-level, two-lane bridge over Bayou Lafourche at Leeville, and the interchanges and connector roads immediately north and south of Leeville.

He said the program targets large projects for federal credit assistance
to help get projects going. The LA 1 project is expected to cost $254 million when completed, using a mix of federal, state and private funds and all toll revenue will be used exclusively to repay project debt.

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