BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- Soon legislators on Capitol Hill will discuss ways to improve roads, bridges and highways across the country.
But just like many bills discussed in D.C. it could be mired in political discord before it’s even voted on.
Louisiana Congressman Garret Graves, a Republican from Baton Rouge is on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and believes Louisiana could see some major improvements as a result of the legislation if they don’t lose focus.
“What we’ve got to do is make sure we’re focusing our limited transportation dollars,” Graves said during a Zoom interview in which he was seated in the passenger seat of a vehicle traveling along very Louisiana highways he wants to improve. He described the ride as “a little bumpy.”
In September lawmakers will consider whether to reauthorize the F.A.S.T. Act (Fix- America’s- Surface- Transportation.)
Congressman Graves, has already met with the new Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation, Pete Buttguige about the legislation,
“The good news is, he’s thinking in an innovative way in regards to how we’re going to take on this next iteration of our transportation legislation, and we’ve had some good discussions about that,” said Graves.
But Graves also echoes a familiar complaint by Republicans concerning the so-called democrat wish list, a situation in which democrats are attaching other, more ideological issues to the bill.
“It seems they have begun to hijack our transportation program in exchange for things like climate change, racial equality, and environmental justice,” said Graves.
Lawmakers will have to come to some sort of an agreement before September when they’re expected to vote whether to reauthorize the F.A.S.T. Act.
Also being considered by Louisiana’s congressional lawmakers is a new Mississippi River Bridge. Graves believes the funding is available, and says it has broad support, but the project still lacks some key logistical planning.
To watch the entire interview with Representative Graves watch This Week in Louisiana Politics this Sunday at 10:30AM on Your Local Election Headquarters.