U.S. Transportation Sec. comes to Shreveport to tour I-49 project

Published 04/17 2014 10:41PM

Updated 04/17 2014 10:57PM

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says America has an infrastructure deficit.

Foxx came to Shreveport on his “Invest in America, Commit to the Future" bus tour, to stress the importance of completing I-49 North.

The Highway Trust Fund, which provides federal money to help execute projects like I-49 North is running out of money.

Foxx says if lawmakers don't do something soon, infrastructure projects across the country could come to a screeching halt.

"As soon as August or September of this year, we'll run out of money, and America will grind to a halt, says Foxx. “And I'm out here to ring the alarm bell for communities all across the country to say that we've got to speak up to Congress and raise a sense of urgency around this transportation cliff that's coming.”

Transportation officials want this part of I-49, to look like this part of I-49: complete in two years.

"It's an important project for the whole country, because Louisiana is obviously the gateway to the gulf,” says Foxx. “We've got lots of industry here that can move products up and industry up north that is sending products down this way. So, it's an important freight gateway. And what you're doing it really amazing work, but we need to be doing more across the country."

Louisiana DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas says she's recognized the economic impact of I-49 all along.

That's why she's been working diligently with state lawmakers for the past several years to get the project done.

"I mean, it's just going to open up that corridor in the northern area, open up Louisiana for more economic development," says LeBas.

Once Segment K of I-49 north is complete, officials say that will put the finishing touch on a 36 mile-long project that will open a new economic portal for northwest Louisiana.

Secretary Foxx is headed to Dallas next as part of his tour, and he says he'll be expecting positive updates from the City of Shreveport and Louisiana concerning I-49.

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