After a one-month delay, the State Bond Commission approved $28 million in improvements to Caesars Superdome and additional aid for 22 other New Orleans projects.

The action was put off Aug. 19 amid concerns over season ticket policies by the New Orleans Saints along with the city's vaccine and masking policies.

Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette and a member of the commission, said he was satisfied the team is working with season ticket holders to address their concerns.

The Saints, in an about face, announced moments before last month's commission meeting that they would offer refunds to season ticket holders who objected to the vaccine mandate and mask requirements in place for home games.

Cortez said he and other members of the commission met with Saints officials after the August meeting. He said the team is working with season ticket holders to ensure they do not lose their tickets if they choose to sit out this year.

State Attorney General Jeff Landry said last month that, aside from ticket refunds, the team needed to allow for opt outs – season ticket holders who elect to skip this season and still keep their seats for future seasons.

Cortez also praised the Saints efforts to offer assistance after Hurricane Ida struck on Aug. 29. "They have been good corporate citizens," he said. 

The New Orleans projects delayed last month but approved this time include cash lines of credit for both immediate and future funding of construction projects.

The immediate list includes the Jourdan Road Terminal Cold Storage Expansion, $8 million, and the Napoleon Avenue Container Crane Expansion Project, $13.1 million.

The long-term list of projects in line for state dollars include the Port of New Orleans Milan Upland Yard improvements, $9.2 million, and the Old New Orleans VA Building rehabilitation, $8 million.

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The New Orleans projects were delayed last month amid objections by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerome "Zee" Zeringue, R-Houma. Zeringue said at the time he objected in part because of the city's vaccine requirements.

Aside from the rules to attend Saints games, vaccine mandates and masking are in place to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, stadiums, arenas and other indoor activities.

The lawmaker raised no objections this time.

The commission initially voted to again delay action on most of the Superdome money and lines of credit for a host of New Orleans projects. Both were on the list of noncash lines of credit, which mean they are only tentatively due state aid if the Legislature agrees.

Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee Chairman Bret Allain, R-Franklin, said it was a mistake for the commission to consider less urgent projects than those in line for immediate aid.

"I just believe it is very premature," Allain said. "We only have so much money."

The commission initially voted to delay action for another month on most of the Superdome money and other New Orleans projects. But the panel reversed course and approved those projects moments later amid concerns that another delay would appear to be targeting New Orleans projects.

The commission later voted 12-2 to take another look at all the less-urgent projects approved Thursday and at its August meetings. That plan was sponsored by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette.

The lone "no' votes on that motion were cast by the Edwards administration representatives on the Bond Commission: Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne and Matthew Block, executive counsel for the governor.

Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.