Louisiana earns D+ ‘report card’ grade on infrastructure

Pictured is the uneven, asphalt-patched Cooktown/Tech Drive overpass that provides a rough ride for vehicles traveling on it. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

It should come as no suprise to Lincoln Parish drivers who have driven on places like the Cooktown Road/Tech Drive overpass recently, but the state Louisiana has received a D+ grade on its infrastructure in a new report card from President Joe Biden’s administration.

That report cites data that was collected by a team of more than 50 civil engineers who studied 11 major components of Louisiana’s infrastructure for more than 18 months.

According to the report, Louisiana has 1,634 bridges and more than 3,411 miles of highway in poor condition.

The report also says that since 2011, commute times have increased by 9.3% in Louisiana and on average, each driver pays $667 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair.

The White House says the American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform the nation’s transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including spending $115 billion repairing roads and bridges.

Drinking water is another issue the American Jobs Plan is focusing on and an important one for Lincoln Parish because of the depleted Sparta Aquifer, one of the state’s most heavily used aquifers. Fifteen parishes in northeast Louisiana rely on the Sparta for fresh water.

The White House report said that over the next 20 years, Louisiana’s drinking water infrastructure will require $7.3 billion in additional funding. The American Jobs Plan includes a $111 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water can be supplied to all communities.

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