Acadiana - With President Biden signing off on the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package Monday, Louisiana lawmakers are now developing plans on how the money will be spent.
One of the most pressing issues - the state’s roads and bridges.
When the White House released its infrastructure report card earlier this year, Louisiana received a D plus. With money now on the way, locals hope it’s enough to remedy the pelican state’s poor bridges and roads.
Lafayette resident Aleya Domingue said "I think Louisiana should want to push themselves up in a lot of rankings, but especially infrastructure."
"I’ve lived here most of my life and the roads aren’t great," said Lafayette resident Jacob White.
Louisiana currently has more than 1,600 miles of bridges and an additional 3,400 miles of highway in poor condition.
When describing the difference between Louisiana's roads and other states, White said "when you hit Louisiana, you start hearing a beat," as he slapped his fist into his hand.
The lack of consistent maintenance to Louisiana's roads and bridges over the years has resulted in being some of the worst in the nation.
"We are not able to satisfy all the needs available, so the backlog keeps accumulating," said former secretary of DOTD, Kam Movassaghi. "When I was secretary under Governor Foster, our backlog was about four billion."
Today, that backlog sits at $15 billion. Simply put, that’s a $15 billion wish list for new bridges and other interstate projects. But with Louisiana expected to receive around $7 billion from the infrastructure package, it’ll still need to get money elsewhere.
Movassaghi said "in Texas they spend a lot more money than we do obviously and they have a lot better roads than we do. Many states are a lot better than we do."
"I think when it comes to the things that we as a public enjoy, it’s all about funding and there are ways that we can fund things regressively," White said.
Regardless of how much money may be needed to solve the crippling infrastructure issues, locals are hopeful that the infrastructure money will be a step in the right direction.
"I think that the seven billion earmarked for Louisiana for the next ten years for infrastructure in this new bill is going to go a long way to helping," said White.
Dominque said "I feel like Louisiana really has a lot of potential."
It could be months or longer before Louisiana officials know exactly how much money it will receive. With the long list of needs for infrastructure financing, the state could use it sooner rather than later.