Acadiana Business

North meets south for like-minded lawmakers

by Leslie Turk

North Louisiana lawmaker teams up with Acadiana reps to fund Lafayette area infrastructure projects he calls "incredibly vital" to the state's economy. UL Lafayette alone stands to take in more than $9 million to fund construction projects.

On Tuesday state Sen. Neil Riser of Monroe and state Rep. Joel Robideaux, Republican lawmakers who respectively chair the Senate and House committees that control the state construction budget, announced more than $22 million in capital outlay funding for various projects in the Acadiana region.

According to a press release issued by The Picard Group, total funding includes $5 million for the construction of a new cargo facility at the Lafayette Regional Airport, expected to create nearly 55 permanent jobs; $5 million for the construction and planning of Apollo Road in Scott, which will provide a major transportation artery and evacuation route from Interstate 10; $3 million total funding for the city of Youngsville for planning and construction for a new community center that will be available to use as a hurricane shelter; and up to $9.4 million in funding for UL Lafayette to be used for construction projects.

"Together with Chairman Robideaux, I am pleased to announce funding for the Lafayette region, which is incredibly vital to the state's economy as a whole," Riser said. "The announcement is a testament to the cooperative effort of North Louisiana working with South Louisiana for the benefit of all of our state." Riser said he plans to continue to work with Robideaux and the Acadiana delegation to make strategic investments in capital outlay projects that benefit not only the region but the entire state.

At a press conference held at the Lafayette Economic Development Authority's office, Robideaux also thanked the governor for his support in securing the infrastructure dollars for the Acadiana region, saying they will enable the airport, university and area municipalities to "continue to drive the economic growth in the energy sector by providing better roads and facilities, which meet the growing commerce demands of our economy."

"With the boom in shale drilling in North Louisiana, never has the need for cooperation and support between north and south been greater in our state," Robideaux added.