$135 Million Federal Transportation Grant to be Awarded for LA 1 Improvement Project
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced today that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LA DOTD) will receive a $135 million federal grant for construction of an 8.3-mile elevated LA Highway 1 between Leeville and Golden Meadow in Lafourche Parish. The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (US DOT) Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program. Construction of this critical segment of the LA 1 Improvement Project is expected to go to bid in spring 2021.
“This grant is a huge win for Louisiana and the nation,” said LA DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson. “Elevating this roadway has always been a priority but was not able to come to fruition due to a lack of funding. This would not have been possible without the 2019 legislation championed by Rep. Tanner Magee, Sen. Rick Ward, and Sen. Page Cortez and signed by the Governor. I am so very proud of the team that worked on this application. Advancing this infrastructure will strengthen Louisiana’s economy, ensuring this region continues to be a leader in servicing the nation’s oil and natural gas production.”
“After months of hard work, the Trump Administration’s award of $135 million in federal INFRA funding to elevate LA Highway 1 is a major victory for our region’s safety and America’s energy security,” said Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, who represents the project area. “Elevating LA 1 has long been a top priority of mine, and I have worked closely for years with DOT Secretary Elaine Chao, Governor Edwards, and local leaders to secure this vital funding.
“As recently as June 8, LA 1 was closed after becoming impassable due to flooding from Tropical Storm Cristobal. Along with being a hurricane evacuation route, LA 1 provides sole access to Port Fourchon and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP). Elevating LA 1 is not only essential for the protection of Louisiana families, but absolutely vital for achieving American energy dominance and safeguarding access to our nation’s oil and natural gas supply,” Scalise said. “I applaud President Trump and Secretary Chao for recognizing this importance and for providing the critical support needed for the LA 1 Project.”
“The LA 1 Coalition would like to thank the leadership of Senators Cassidy and Kennedy and Congressmen Scalise and Graves for this success. A historic federal award of this size could not have been garnered without the support of our entire Congressional Delegation and their unified approach was critical to this significant grant award. Alongside Governor Edwards and LA DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson, each member of the Congressional Delegation has demonstrated unwavering support and never hesitated to engage when asked for help. This award recognizes the region’s contribution to our nation’s economic needs and goal of ongoing energy dominance. We are grateful for Secretary Chao’s vision and commitment to completing LA 1,” said LA 1 Coalition Executive Director Henri Boulet.
Construction of the elevated highway is estimated at $445 million, to be funded by an innovative public-private partnership demonstrating the significance of the LA 1 corridor to energy security, economic growth and environmental resiliency. LA DOTD and LA 1 Coalition officials consider this funding partnership to have been an advantage for the LA 1 grant request.
In addition to the $135 million federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant announced today, construction funds include $150 million from the State of Louisiana for the LA 1 Project in Act 443 of the 2019 Regular Legislative Session, $25 million from the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, $8.9 million from oil and gas companies and service companies, $1.2 million each from Lafourche Parish Government and the LA 1 Coalition, and $210,000 from local landowners. A balance of $13.5 million dollar over the course of construction will be solicited from industry partners. While the INFRA grant award was not funded at the total requested, the project is fully funded.
“The INFRA grant award is the final piece of the funding puzzle put together by the State of Louisiana, Lafourche Parish, Greater Lafourche Port Commission, and industry stakeholders. This is an excellent example of what hard work and perseverance can accomplish, and we are proud to be a part of it. The future of our economy and community is bright with the reliable access this elevated highway will provide,” said Chett Chiasson, Executive Director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission and Chairman of the LA 1 Coalition.
LA 1 is the only highway that services Port Fourchon, which supports 17 percent of American oil and gas production and generates a $4 billion per year economic impact on Louisiana. The highway also provides access to coastal marshes for restoration and protection projects and serves as the sole evacuation route for Port Fourchon and residents of Grand Isle and lower Lafourche Parish. With all of this activity dependent on a safe and reliable highway access, the segment of elevated highway to be built has an exceptional 4.86% benefit/cost analysis, expected to yield over $1.5 billion in economic benefits collectively to our stakeholders and federal, state and local government entities over a 30-year period.
“This is an extraordinary day for our community, our state and the LA 1 Coalition. Now we are eager to begin construction on this critical energy infrastructure that our organization has vigorously championed for many years,” said Boulet.
“The completed elevated LA 1 will host millions of dollars of commercial activity moving in and out of Port Fourchon, Grand Isle, and our vibrant Gulf of Mexico. Whether for recreation, fishing, coastal restoration, or production of our abundant natural resources, drivers along LA 1 will have a much safer and dependable route to Louisiana’s valuable working coast,” he said.
More than 1,300 trucks and heavy vehicles travel the LA 1 southern corridor daily to support port activity and energy production. The traffic and related economic activity comes to a halt multiple days a year, however, as tidal inundation forces closure of the existing at-grade highway from Leeville to Golden Meadow. Each day that Port Fourchon is open and available for commerce but LA 1 is closed due to flooding costs the U.S. $46 million in oil and gas production and $528 million in GDP, according to the project’s benefit/cost ratio. On June 7, the highway was closed for 20 hours due to Tropical Storm Cristobal, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the existing at-grade LA 1 will be under water 22 days a year by 2030 and 201 days a year by 2047.
“The LA 1 Coalition would like to extend a sincere thank you to both Governor Edwards and LA DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson for the state’s ongoing commitment to complete LA 1, and for putting forth the time and resources to bring together a winning grant submission team. There will be more work for us all as we continue our partnership to see this resilient highway to completion,” said Boulet.
“We would also like to thank NOAA CO-OPS scientists for the science they applied in modeling tidal inundations on existing at-grade LA 1and HNTB Corporation analysts who compiled data from LA 1 stake holders to determine the project’s benefit/cost ratio,” he concluded.
In 2011, Phase 1 of the LA 1 Improvement Project was completed with the opening of a 5.8-mile elevated highway from Port Fourchon to Leeville. The first segment of Phase 2 was completed earlier this year. It involved widening the curve at the on-ramp to the existing elevated highway at Leeville and constructing a 400-foot highway extension that will tie into the new elevated highway from Leeville to Golden Meadow now slated for construction starting next year.
- On March 6, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act into law. The bill provided $8.3 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for federal, state, and local responses to the Coronavirus.
- H.R. 6201 – the second Coronavirus bill – was signed into law by President Trump on March 18th. This bill requires free access to coronavirus testing, ensuring there are no cost barriers to these tests. It also included $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of testing, including $142 million to directly help our servicemembers and veterans.
- The CARES Act – the third Coronavirus bill – was signed into law by President Trump on March 27th. This package will provide further assistance to our economy, including direct relief payments to most American taxpayers.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) How to prepare and protect yourself. What to do if you think you are sick.
- Visit the Louisiana Department of Health website for Louisiana COVID-19 information.
- SBA Loan Applications Are Now Open Statewide: APPLY NOW. You may also visit the SBA’s Coronavirus website for additional small business guidance and loan resources.
- Please visit the Louisiana Workforce Commission website for COVID-19 updates and unemployment information.
- Visit the IRS website for information on Coronavirus Tax Relief.
- Get Coronavirus Resources for Business from LABI, the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry.
- From the Office of the Governor of Louisiana, CLICK HERE for more information and updates on the Coronavirus.
- Visit the Lafourche Parish Government website for COVID-19 Updates.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2020
Graves Urges Small Businesses to Fill Out a Paycheck Protection Program Application NOW
Small businesses can apply for and receive loans starting April 3rd.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) announced today that small businesses can now fill out an application to the Paycheck Protection Program for a forgivable loan to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders beginning on April 3, 2020. Graves urges borrowers to apply as soon as possible because the program is subject to a funding cap.
- For an overview of the program CLICK HERE
- If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE
- If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE
- The application for borrowers can be found HERE
“I commend Sec. Mnuchin and the SBA for taking quick action to implement this program and get information out to the public – this is the kind of performance that people deserve and should expect from their government during a crisis. Louisiana small businesses, independent contractors, self-employed and non-profits need to also act quickly to review and evaluate the program and, if it could benefit them and their workforce, get to preparing their applications,” said Graves. “Louisiana is no stranger to disasters, and know how to pull together in times of crisis. We will pull through this together, and the assistance from the CARES Act will help us emerge stronger.”
About the program. The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), created through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be the same for everyone.
The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as:
- The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the 8 week period after the loan is made; and
- Employee and compensation levels are maintained.
Payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.
Loan payments will be deferred for 6 months.
When can I apply?
- Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
- Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
- Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans as soon as they are approved and enrolled in the program.
Where can I apply? You can apply through any existing SBA lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.
The Paycheck Protection Program is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury.
Also today: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published more guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it goes into effect on April 1, 2020. Learn more HERE.
Louisianans can start or reopen a claim for unemployment insurance HERE or by calling 1-866-783-5567.
Gov. Edwards Issues Statewide Stay at Home Order to Further Fight the Spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana
March 22, 2020
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide Stay at Home order that goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, to further fight the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, as the number of confirmed cases have topped 800 and spread to more than half of our parishes.
“In Louisiana we have taken aggressive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve; however, this is not enough. As our number of cases continue to grow, I am directing all Louisianans to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave. I am implementing this measure to help prevent you from becoming infected or infecting someone else. People can leave their homes to do essential things like buying groceries or food, pick up medicine or go to work only if their job is essential. If you have to go out, make sure you practice social distancing measures and keep 6 feet between you and the people around you. People are encouraged to go outside and to stay active during this time, as long as they practice social distancing when they are around their neighbors,” Gov. Edwards said. “This order is not something I take lightly, but it is necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of our people, our communities and our way of life.”
The order is set to expire at the end of the night on Sunday, April 12. The Governor will re-evaluate the need for the statewide Stay at Home order and other mitigation measures currently in place to determine if they need to be extended beyond April 12.
The Governor previously ordered all K-12 public schools, casinos, bars movie theatres, gyms and fitness centers closed and restricted restaurants to take-out, drive-through and delivery orders only. He has also moved the state’s April 4 elections and limited crowd size.
For businesses, the new Stay at Home order has limits on the following:
All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, and other similar businesses.
All personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, and other similar businesses.
All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines.
Businesses closed to the public as listed in the order can conduct necessary activities such as payroll, cleaning services, maintenance or upkeep as necessary.
Any business not covered by the guidance from the CISA discussed in Section 3 of the order and not ordered to temporarily close must reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing, adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size.
Early learning centers and child care facilities adhering to the guidance issued by the Louisiana Department of Education and Office of Public Health may continue to operate.
Examples of Essential Worker Functions under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines include:
Healthcare workers and caregivers
Mental health and Social Service workers
Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail sales of food and beverage products
Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees
Electricity and Utility Industry Employees
Critical Manufacturing Employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals)
Petroleum, Natural and Propane Gas Workers
Transportation and Logistics Workers
Communications and Information Technology Employees
Financial Services and Banking Industry Employees
See CISA essential business guidelines here.
Members of the public will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and pharmacies to pick up food, medicine and necessary supplies, go to their essential jobs and to go outside for exercise and fresh air. When leaving their home, people should practice social distancing.
OTHER ORDERS FROM THE GOVERNOR:
Gov. Edwards has issued a number of orders designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana and flatten the curve. They are:
March 11: Original declaration of Public Health Emergency, restrictions
March 13: Transportation, health care, administrative
March 14: Restrictions on establishments, closures, legal deadlines
March 19: Education, health care, administrative
In addition, Gov. Edwards issued a proclamation on March 13 moving Louisiana’s elections, which can be found here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 19, 2020
As originally reported by the Office of the Governor:
GOV. EDWARDS: ALL LOUISIANA PARISHES ELIGIBLE FOR COVID-19 BUSINESS AID
SBA loans of up to $2 million will aid Louisiana’s more than 440,000 small businesses
BATON ROUGE, LA — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that small businesses in all 64 Louisiana parishes will have access to federal Small Business Administration disaster aid in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza confirmed that Louisiana’s more than 440,000 small business are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans, which will be made available to eligible firms suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus.
“COVID-19 is a unique crisis affecting all walks of life, and that means Louisiana’s small business community will continue to be heavily impacted by disruptions to their operations,” Gov. Edwards said. “We are pleased to work with SBA and the federal government in providing this critical working capital to our small business owners who are suffering from the necessary measures installed due to the Coronavirus. Our hope is that these SBA disaster loans will be an important part of sustaining their businesses and providing support to their employees who make up over half of Louisiana’s private-sector workforce.”
Impacted small businesses may apply for up to $2 million in working capital to pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the COVID-19 disaster. Loan terms (3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses; 2.75 percent for nonprofits) may be extended up to 30 years to keep payments affordable.
To get started immediately, visit SBA.gov/Disaster. SBA offers a three-step process for disaster loans explained here.
Louisiana Economic Development also is offering COVID-19: Business Resources, an online guide to assistance available for impacted businesses. Look for updates to the guide at OpportunityLouisiana.com.
“LED continues to monitor business conditions throughout Louisiana and we are identifying every possible avenue of support for our businesses, large and small, so that we can help them navigate the unique challenges of COVID-19,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “We are grateful to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Gov. Edwards for securing this critical SBA disaster assistance as an important part of our recovery and sustainability efforts.”
GREATER LAFOURCHE PORT COMMISSION
State of the Port Newsletter
The Greater Lafourche Port Commission is excited to launch our latest venture, an informative quarterly newsletter, that features a State of the Port address, a Commissioner Spotlight, and a Feature Story showcasing a current GLPC project.
We welcome you to open the newsletters linked below to read more about who we are and what we do each and every day.
A Parishwide Comprehensive Resiliency Plan
The Comprehensive Resiliency Plan was adopted by Lafourche Parish Council on April 8, 2014.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014
CLICK HERE to review of copy of the Amendment.