A bill that would direct $700 million in BP oil spill settlement money to road projects gains final passage.

Houma Representative Tanner Magee says the money will find it’s way to every corner of the state, and target projects with the greatest economic impacts.

“Elevate LA 1 down in Fourchon, we added the 415 connector, I 49 North and South, roads in Shreveport, ferries in Lake Charles, cranes in New Orleans.”

Magee says when federal matching dollars are accounted for, the total investment could top a billion dollars.

The legislation redirects funds that were earmarked in 2014 away from the rainy day and Medicaid trust fund. Magee says choosing to use it for infrastructure instead puts us in line with our neighbors.

“This is what the other states did, they took it as an opportunity to invest in infrastructure. Had we not just come on the heels of the Jindal administration, and trying to find ways to replenish money that was shuffled around, we would have probably done the same.”

The state says there’s a roughly 14-billion-dollar backlog in road projects.

The legislation originally only addressed the LA 415 connector near I-10 and a stretch of highway on LA 1 that needed to be elevated, but was amended to a number of other projects. Magee says that stretch of LA 1 heading into Port Fourchon floods three days a year, costing incredible sums of money…

“Every hour that that port is not open costs the United States economy 22 million dollars. It’s a very vital road.”

That stretch of LA 1 runs from Golden Meadow to Leesville.

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