State construction bill includes $20M for University Lakes project

Renderings of the LSU lakes after planned improvements. (University Lakes Project)

The current version of the state’s capital outlay bill includes a $20 million commitment to complete the University Lakes improvement project, Sen. Franklin Foil says. 

Foil, R-Baton Rouge, says he expects the bill to come to the Senate floor next week. 

“Those lakes are just a natural treasure for our city,” Foil says. 

A total of $32 million in federal, state and local funding has already been secured to complete the first phase of the project, which includes dredging five of the six lakes. Addressing University Lake, the largest of the six, is estimated to cost $20 million. 

Project plans call for addressing water quality and flooding issues while adding bike and pedestrian paths. 

The new proposed allocation is under what state lawmakers call Priority 5, meaning the money would not immediately be available but could be moved up to a higher priority next year while work on the first phase is underway. 

Foil says he is pleased with how the session is going so far for the Baton Rouge area. There’s still work to do to secure significant funding for a new Mississippi River crossing, he adds, noting the “unprecedented” amount of surplus dollars available for infrastructure.