Louisiana, President Biden, Baton Rouge discussed on Here and Now

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For airports broadband electric vehicle charging stations When you hear that I'm sure you're salivating but are you also picturing And I wouldn't hold you to it But you know for people in Louisiana what are some of the things you're thinking great we got to fix this Well you know we've got a $1 billion out of this fund that's coming to Louisiana's going to be used on bridges And we've got over 12,000 bridges in the stable Louisiana Many of them connecting rural communities to marketplaces And so you can have a great road with a bad bridge You can't get anywhere But I'm also looking forward to being creative and innovative with our federal partners to compete for mega grants mega dollars on megaprojects things like a new bridge in Baton Rouge The I ten bridge in calcasieu Louisiana where President Biden stepped foot on not too long ago to talk about the importance of this bill as an example of an interstate system bridge that's older than the interstate system Those are projects that are important to citizens of Louisiana that I trust this 5 year bill will make a difference for in the next coming years And when you are meeting there in Tel Aviv to talk about smarter ways to do that So give us an idea of what that might be when you build a road is it going to be able to absorb more water for instance I mean what are some of these smart ideas So ironically most of the technologies that I'm looking at at this conference have to do with safety detecting traffic Louisiana is one of 16 states that failed to hit its safety targets two years in a row which means we're killing too many people on our roads pedestrians bicyclists individuals and vehicles We can use technology to interface with the vehicle with the cell phone and using technology in a smarter way is perhaps a greater investment that's just looking and putting down concrete and asphalt And so we're trying to figure out are there services that we can implement that will allow us to move more people more safely through a quarter and to improve mobility access You're not I would imagine levees and dikes and things You're more roads and bridges But what about climate resiliency Where do you see and can you be specific Where do you see dollars going Absolutely Clearly we're going to see about $20 million on resilience And so just in terms of flood elevation of roads I've got no less than 15 to 20 miles that in a three inch rainfall will have standing water I can put a two inch overlay or a three inch overlay on that particular segment and it no longer goes underwater which will allow for safe passage of products and people And so on an average I'm spending $3 million a year That may get me one and a half to two miles This $20 million here can afford me another 15 to 20 miles just an elevating roads But we also have an opportunity for other type of resilience projects through a larger pot of money that may not come directly through the U.S. Department of Transportation to do other projects like what you've seen in our coastal projects that are either building land or protecting our inland areas And post Katrina we spent several billions of dollars of the federal government's money to protect the city of New Orleans and other areas and it worked We have an opportunity with this money to build back and implement the plan that we developed many years ago And that's what's so exciting about this generational investment and infrastructure What about public transportation I mean we saw the terrible images out of other cities of flooding in subways And that maybe that's not the issue there But what do you plan to do to put money into ways to protect public transportation Well what we're really wanting to do is build passenger rail commuter rail between Baton Rouge in New Orleans and New Orleans to mobile and all across north Louisiana That's an opportunity to connect cities megacities like Atlanta to Dallas Like New Orleans to Baton Rouge so that we can then exchange workforce as well as cultural tourism So those are some of the investments we want to see with transit and passenger rail in Louisiana I hear your enthusiasm and just have to ask you one political question You know your senator Bill Cassidy was a lead author of the bill but every one of Louisiana's Republicans in the House voted against this money John Kennedy said it's welfare It's actually a tax on the states petrochemical companies You say what I say it's unfortunate We're interested in solutions and that's what this is about In my state I've got a $14.8 billion unmet need and to turn away federal dollars when more than 50% of my budget is based on the federal contributions I don't think is a real win win solution for the state I'm excited that we have this money I'm focused on delivering the projects with these resources investing in infrastructure like we never have before It produced results that we've never seen before And I'm looking forward to doing that That's Sean Wilson Louisiana secretary of transportation and development Thank you so much Thank you So today Louisiana and in the coming days.

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