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Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008--Continued--

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008--Continued--

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I thank my colleagues for yielding because of time constraints.

I came to the floor to thank Senator Murray for her extraordinary work on the bridge replacement amendment and for the colleagues--60--who joined her in supporting this amendment. It is important to all of our States, but particularly for Louisiana, that is struggling, like so many of our other States are, to find funding for critical infrastructure. We, of course, 2 years ago, had the collapse of an infrastructure, of our levees. We have great impacts on many of our highways. Of course, the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota has caused us all to refocus on the importance of this issue.

Mr. President, I will submit my longer statement for the Record, but we have over 4,000 bridges in the State of Louisiana alone, that is including overpasses over highways. Nearly 30 percent of the total are categorized as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. In fact, one of the bridges I have outlined in my statement is the Red River Bridge that was built in 1936. It alone will cost $100 million. This U.S. 71/165 bridge is in a very small parish in Louisiana. We are straddling the great Mississippi River, and it causes a great deal of strain on some of our poorer parishes that need to find ways to cross but have very little capacity.

The backlog of bridge replacement needs for bridges that are either structurally or functionally deficient and have a sufficiency rating of less than 50 in Louisiana is $2.1 billion. The I-35 West Bridge in Minneapolis was given a sufficiency rating of 50 in 2005.

A total of almost 4,000 bridges, or nearly 30 percent, of the total bridges in Louisiana are categorized as either ``structurally deficient'' or ``functionally obsolete.''

If all bridges categorized as ``structurally deficient'' or ``functionally obsolete'' in Louisiana were to be replaced, the total projected cost would be more than $10.5 billion today, not fully including other costs such as rights of way, engineering or utilities.

Louisiana is not unlike most other states with a backlog of transportation projects. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development alone has a total transportation backlog of over $14 billion. The funding in this amendment will help address a critical piece of that backlog by providing additional funds for bridges in the State.

I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting Senator Murray and this critical amendment for our Nation's bridge infrastructure.

Specific examples in Louisiana are:

The I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles, built in 1952, is now functionally obsolete, with additional capacity needed in the corridor and estimated replacement cost several times the current annual funding of the entire bridge replacement program. This bridge is nationally significant because it is part of Interstate 10, a ``Corridor of the Future'' as designated by the Department of Transportation.

The Red River Bridge at Fort Buhlow, US 71/165, built in 1936, is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, with an estimated replacement cost of greater than $100 million, a significant portion of our current annual funding of the entire bridge replacement program.

I thank Senator Murray, and my colleagues for yielding before we go on to the next debate, which is on trucks and trucking, and I am happy to cosponsor their amendment as well.

I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a letter from the Department of Transportation.

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