Aboard Marine One, President Joe Biden surveys a Hurricane Ida damaged transmission Tower in Harahan, La. Friday, Sept. 3, 2021.

Hurricane Ida gave us a harsh reminder that we need to strengthen the infrastructure that protects us from storms — improving highways and evacuation routes, hardening our electric grid and investing in flood mitigation. As Louisiana works to rebuild and recover, we need supplemental disaster aid. We must also take steps to prevent this level of devastation in the future. The bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which passed the U.S. Senate 69-30, does so much to prepare us for future storms and complements federal aid efforts.

Louisiana will receive $6 billion over the next five years for roads and bridges. There is an additional $8.8 billion available nationwide to transportation infrastructure, including evacuation route and at-risk coastal infrastructure grants.

In the bipartisan infrastructure bill, there is $26 billion specifically to strengthen our nation’s electrical grid and prevent Ida's widespread power outages. This funding includes $5 billion directed at enhancing the resilience of electric grids from extreme weather and natural disasters, $12.5 billion increase power transmission to maintain reliable access to energy, and $9 billion to develop and deploy new technology to strengthen grid reliability and resiliency.

When it comes to storms, Louisiana understands how important flood mitigation and coastal restoration are. We have developed strategies that have become a model for communities around the world. After Hurricane Katrina, we developed a federal levee system that protected New Orleans from the severe flooding seen elsewhere in southeast Louisiana.

Of the $17 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers in this bill, $2.55 billion is specifically for Coastal Storm Risk Management and Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction projects targeting states such as Louisiana that have been impacted by federally declared disasters over the last six years. There is another $5.5 billion in disaster mitigation, coastal restoration and flood mitigation assistance.

Ecosystem Restoration projects like Southwest Coastal Louisiana, and flood mitigation projects like Morganza to the Gulf, can help us prepare for future storms. The funding in the bipartisan infrastructure bill Louisiana stands to receive can make it happen.

This doesn’t happen in lieu of supplemental disaster aid, but in addition to it. We can do this with the bipartisan infrastructure bill.


United States senator

Baton Rouge

Our Views: Nothing dumb, John Kennedy, about investing in state's deteriorating infrastructure