The $60 million federal grant that Louisiana is getting for transportation improvements, including changes near the Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, is the fourth largest in the nation, officials said Wednesday.
State leaders learned in July that the money was coming.
However, U. S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday formally announced the winners of what are called FASTLANE grants, which are supposed to finance improvements for private drivers as well as freight haulers.
Of the $60 million that Louisiana is getting, $20 million will help finance the relocation of the Washington Street exit in Baton Rouge, near the Mississippi River bridge, to a new one closer to downtown on Interstate 110 South.
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Another $30 million will be used for rail improvements between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Finally, $10 million is to be allocated to speed work on a revamped I-10-Loyola Avenue interchange that will lead to a new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
The initial round of FASTLANE grants went to 18 projects in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
The aid totals $759.2 million and is the first of a five-year, $4.5 billion building plan authorized by Congress.
Foxx said federal officials received more than 200 requests for aid totaling about $10 billion.
The biggest winner in round one was Virginia, which is getting $165 million for work on I-95, which officials said will improve mobility along the Eastern seaboard.
The District of Columbia is getting a $90 million grant and Oklahoma is in line for $62 million.
Louisiana requested $100 million in FASTLANE funds.
However, while that bid fell short the state is getting another $40 million because it obligated all of its federal transportation funds for the 2016-17 financial year.
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Those dollars will be used for improvements on I-10 between I-49 in Lafayette and the Atchafalaya Basin, among other projects.
Projects that got the money were reviewed by U.S. Department of Transportation officials for their impacts on regional and national travel, reduced congestion and expanded capacity.
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