We at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber applaud U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s efforts to negotiate a bipartisan solution to funding infrastructure. Finding compromise in this political climate isn’t easy, or always appreciated. America’s competitiveness relies on modernizing our infrastructure and has been needed under the last three presidents. We are hopeful that a bipartisan infrastructure bill will pass the House. It matters to Baton Rouge and Louisiana.

For almost a decade, our business surveys ranked traffic as the worst obstacle to doing business in the Baton Rouge area. Baton Rouge ranks fifth in America — behind only Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and San Francisco — for having the worst regional traffic congestion in 2020, according to Tom Tom. Infrastructure is an existential crisis for Baton Rouge.

Since 2016, BRAC and the CRISIS Coalition have advocated the urgent need for significant infrastructure funding. Baton Rouge needs a new Mississippi River Bridge and bypass, which is in the process of environmental review and location selection. The Interstate 10 bottleneck in Baton Rouge is a project of national urgency.

That’s why we need the leadership of our congressional delegation to pass infrastructure funding now. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about this legislation. Some say this bill is not about “real” infrastructure. In fact, it is. The bill over ten years includes $110 billion for roads and bridges, $65 billion for broadband infrastructure, $54 billion for water infrastructure, $25 billion for airports, $47 billion for public transportation, $46 billion for resiliency, $65 billion for strengthening the electric grid, and $17.4 billion for ports and waterways.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber encourages Louisiana’s congressional leadership to come together on infrastructure, negotiate on their concerns, and support investments in Baton Rouge and Louisiana. We have shown we can be bipartisan in times of crisis. This is one of those times.

ADAM KNAPP

president, Baton Rouge Area Chamber