Louisiana ports are the economic hubs of many of our communities. They are important links for domestic and international trade. These centers of commerce — 33 throughout the state — facilitate the movement of goods throughout our entire country.

Ports are critical infrastructure for the economic vitality of our country, and particularly for Louisiana. Port-related industries generate one in five jobs in our state.

Given their importance, it’s no surprise U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, fought for port infrastructure funding in the bipartisan Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act. And there’s significant funding coming to ports in the bill.

Specifically, there’s $17 billion for waterway and coastal infrastructure, inland waterway improvements, and port infrastructure. This is huge. Typically, the Army Corps of Engineers receive somewhere between $6 billion to $7 billion annually. This investment in the current legislation, which passed the Senate, is more than double what they normally receive to do much-needed projects such as dredging important channels like the Mississippi River Ship Channel and protecting ports from flooding and natural disasters.

Separately, there’s $2.25 billion for the Port Infrastructure Development Program. This competitive grant program supports projects to improve port capacity and operations. Louisiana is primed to receive money from this pot, as well.

There’s also money in the bill for the Port of Lake Charles to address dredging and construction needs as a result of damage from last year’s devastating hurricanes.

Our ports are economic drivers for Louisiana and the country. The funding for ports in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will serve as a catalyst for growth and prosperity.

I support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Louisiana ports support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

JENNIFER L. MARUSAK

executive director, Ports Association of Louisiana

Baton Rouge