Stephanie Grace: As infrastructure tap opens, Louisiana opponents remain silent | Columnist Stéphanie Grace


Will they take it back?

You know who I’m talking about. Guys what’s in Louisiana is all the guys that benefit Blue State socialism anyway who saw the opportunity to invest billions of federal dollars in infrastructure. degraded Louisiana, chose to throw it out and voted no. In other words, the majority of the state congressional delegation: US Senator John Kennedy and US Representatives Steve Scalise, Garret Graves, Mike Johnson, Clay Higgins and Julia Letlow, all Republicans.

So, now that the tap is on and $ 101 million in Environmental Protection Agency funding to fix dangerously obsolete drinking water systems is heading our way?

Will they admit that the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure investment and jobs bill, backed by the President and the Democratic House of Representatives and passed with a surprising level of bipartisan support in the Senate, benefits citizens? States like Louisiana? Will they give Joe Biden some credit for doing what Donald Trump did not, not only by constantly promising infrastructure investments, but actually delivering them? Will they at least squirm uncomfortably when the communities they represent receive the good news?

I doubt.

So let’s put them aside, because they have sidelined themselves by choosing to hold the party line rather than trying to solve real problems on the pitch.

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According to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the floor belongs to US Senator Bill Cassidy, the Republican of Louisiana who joined with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and 17 other Senate Republicans in supporting the bill. .

A smiling Cassidy offered two enthusiastic thumbs up in a video he posted to announce that the state is online for $ 101 million a year for five years, some in the form of grants and others in the form of loans to low interest rate.

“So happy. When I travel around the state, I hear about the need to invest in water infrastructure in all regions of our beautiful state,” he said. “This bill responds to them. . “

We imagine his colleagues hear the same thing, because keeping drinking water safe and lead-free is a tall order not only for big Democratic cities like New Orleans, whose new US Representative Troy Carter has enthusiastically supported the measure, but for rural areas that tend to vote Republican.

About 20% of the state’s 1,300 water supply systems are below the standards set by the Louisiana Department of Health and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, and many have failed. just not the tax and customer needed to pay for the upgrades. State Representative Jerome “Zee” Zeringue, the Republican of Houma who co-chairs the Legislative Assembly’s Water Selection Commission, said last week that “communities across the state drink and bathe in brown water “.

The new federal investment comes on top of the $ 300 million soon to be available under the US bailout and $ 23 million in ARP funds that lawmakers recently approved for 29 projects in small towns and rural parishes. .

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If the numbers seem huge, so too is the problem. Zeringue estimated the state’s overall water infrastructure needs at around $ 4 billion statewide.

And water quality is just one of the many challenges the infrastructure law will tackle. Soon, hopefully, money to upgrade aging highways and bridges, expand rural broadband, improve coastal resilience, strengthen the electricity grid and much more.

Some investments, in areas like public transport, could be more vital for other parts of the country, as opponents have insisted. But thanks in part to Cassidy’s role in negotiating the bill, there are a lot of things that will make Louisiana a safer, more modern place. And it certainly can’t hurt to have a former New Orleans mayor and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu coordinating efforts for the Biden administration.

So expect more videos like the one Cassidy posted last week announcing the latest “big announcement”.

And expect more of the radio silence we’ve gotten from its GOP peers. Because at this stage, what could they say, except that progress is being made in spite of themselves?

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