In visiting with President Joe Biden during his stop in New Orleans on Thursday, I thanked him and Congress for providing funding for critical infrastructure needs across our country, especially in Louisiana. Investing in transportation infrastructure is the best way to drive our local and state economies and bring a significant return on investment to Baton Rouge and Louisiana.
We have momentum in growing our economy and investing in smart and sustainable transportation solutions. We are delivering a locally funded $1.2 billion infrastructure improvement program, the most significant in our parish’s history, and also designing Louisiana’s first bus rapid transit project that will connect our major job hubs and spur redevelopment opportunities along a 10-mile corridor. My vision includes being connected to cities, parishes, and regions beyond our own — which is why I support the intercity passenger rail project between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Passenger rail offers a reliable, efficient, and climate-friendly alternative for moving throughout our region, which is especially needed when traffic is at its worst during peak commutes. Connecting our Louisiana “super region” with passenger rail will expand workforce and education opportunities while attracting younger talent looking to easily move around the region. Such solutions will also serve a vital role in supporting our tourism and travel industry as it rebounds from the pandemic, driving commerce and economic activity along the corridor. The rail project will reduce traffic along Interstate 10 which will improve safety. With the frequency and impact of disasters increasing yearly, we need options for transporting our people to safety.
Biden has allocated $80 billion in his proposal for investing in passenger and freight rail connecting new city pairs like Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We have an ideal project that connects our two largest cities and offers more transportation options to underserved communities. Our project is included in Amtrak’s new plan for future investment. We have the advantage of having plans in place for locating new train stations in downtown Baton Rouge and in our suburban health district; supportive elected leaders including the governor; business community endorsements; and a groundswell of public support.
Now is the time to make it a reality.
SHARON WESTON BROOME
mayor-president, East Baton Rouge Parish
Our Views: In Louisiana, Joe Biden ought to get GOP help on our decrepit bridges, pumps