Louisiana is poised to land an unexpected $76 million from the Federal Highway Administration, provided the state can obligate the funds—essentially, send the FHA a list of projects on which the money will be spent—by Sept. 26.
The money is coming from unspent highway funds originally allocated to other states that, for one reason or another, were unable to spend it this year, according to U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, who has been working to secure the extra money for Louisiana.
Graves was notified yesterday his efforts were successful, though the state has to provide details on how the money will be spent before the funds will be reallocated.
“We’re going to be working with DOTD to make sure they can pull the trigger on these projects so we can get the money,” he says.
Though Graves cannot say for sure which projects might get a share in the lagniappe money, he says a couple of possibilities include: the completion of the Pecue Lane extension, additional work on I-10 and upgrades to LA 30 and LA 1.
The federal reallocation can be taken as an administrative action and does not require any hearings or Congressional action.
“We’re excited about being able to take advantage of these additional funds,” says Graves, who notes the money puts the state at more than $800 million over the past few years in lagniappe highway funds from grant and discretionary programs, over and above what it would typically receive. “We need to ensure that these dollars are invested in the highest priority projects, not in political projects.”