“If you look up ‘stupid stuff’ in the dictionary, there’s a picture of this bill,” Louisiana’s junior U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said of the massive infrastructure proposal that has passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House.
Sorry, Sen. Kennedy, we beg to differ. We may not agree with every item in the $1.2 trillion package, but there’s an awful lot in it that makes good sense for Louisiana.
Is it stupid to rebuild the dangerously outdated Interstate 10 bridge over the Calcasieu River, or to alleviate perpetual traffic congestion in Baton Rouge by expanding the existing Mississippi River Bridge or adding another crossing, or to finally complete Interstate 49? We think not.
How about providing high-speed broadband to rural parts of the state? Shoring up the vulnerable coastline amid dire warnings of sea level rise? Reducing red tape for flood control projects? Updating substandard drinking water and sewerage systems? Smart, smart, smart and smart.
The state’s senior U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy played a key role in negotiating the agreement with the Senate's Democratic majority plus more than enough of his fellow Republicans, and he says Louisiana would get $5.8 billion over the next five years for bridges and highways alone, to be allocated according to priorities decided at the state level. Cassidy also predicts that the legislation would create tens of thousands of new jobs.
This is important stuff, and we hope the proposal won't be derailed by some House Democrats' pursuit of larger domestic spending agendas.
Kennedy voted against the measure but got in a memorable sound bite, as he usually does.
If this bill makes it through the House and gets President Joe Biden’s signature, though, it will be Cassidy who gets credit for improving Louisianans’ lives.