Staff Directory | Join The Chamber | Chamber Member Directory

A letter to US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao

Posted by: George Swift on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Thank you very much for your visit to Louisiana to announce a grant through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America discretionary grant program for the La. 23 Belle Chasse bridge and tunnel replacement project.

We also thank you for your support of increased federal funding for our nation’s aging infrastructure.

Nowhere in the United States is there a better example of outdated infrastructure than the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Built in 1952, The I-10 Bridge has outlived its structural capacity and usefulness in today’s fast paced national and international business climate. Studies by the National Bridge Inventory and Louisiana officials have established that the bridge does not meet traffic capacity standards which can impede commerce and create safety concerns.

Challenges to the replacement of the bridge include the federal and state infrastructure funding process, environmental considerations and current and anticipated traffic patterns. Current estimates are that over 70,000 vehicles per day cross the bridge and that amount is expected to greatly increase due to a large amount of industrial expansion in our area. This bridge is a vital link along the I-10 corridor from California to Florida, and unfortunately, it’s the weak link.

The Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition (https://fasterbettersafer.org) – which includes the United States Chamber of Commerce and The Chamber SWLA – has announced that the I-10 /Calcasieu River Bridge needs to be replaced and funding must be made available. Members of the ATM Coalition come from business, labor and union sectors, transportation stakeholders, and the public. Their goal is to advocate for a top-grade American infrastructure system.

The need for a new bridge in Southwest Louisiana is especially important because the region is the epicenter of America’s liquefied gas renaissance. Currently Southwest Louisiana is home to $109 billion in announced new and expanding industrial facilities. It is also home to a top 10 port, The Port of Lake Charles, and five other ports. Our region has a world class pipeline system, multiple rail providers, regional and international airports, and gaming resort hotels. The industrial expansion will create over 18,000 permanent jobs. The pressure on our infrastructure, especially the I-10 Bridge, will greatly increase.

We support ATM in their efforts to increase funding for infrastructure vital to the security, safety and national economy.

We urge you to support funding for our I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge.

We invite you to visit Lake Charles for a first-hand view of the conditions of the bridge and to discuss the issues that would be extremely detrimental to our nation, state and region’s economy and safety should there be a failure with the current bridge.

Please let us know if you can visit Southwest Louisiana. We stand ready to support efforts to increase infrastructure funding. The Chamber SWLA has formed a blue-ribbon Task Force to make recommendations to state and federal officials on financing options for this vital project.

Thank you again for your visit to Louisiana. Please visit our area to determine your support for our path forward for a new bridge.

Sincerely,

Southwest Louisiana

Comments

0 comments on "A letter to US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao"

Leave a Comment

Contact Information

Back to top