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Moving the American Economy - U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Contact: Nancy Singer
(202) 366-0660
FHWA 05-07

Federal Loan Jump Starts Louisiana's Highway 1 in Port Fourchon

An innovative Federal Highway Administration loan program is responsible for the replacement of Louisiana's Highway 1 in Port Fourchon, said Administrator J. Richard Capka today at the groundbreaking ceremony for the project.

"LA-1 plays an extremely important role in our nation's oil and gas supply," Capka said, "and a sudden loss of this highway would have a significant impact on the country."

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development received a $66 million loan under the U.S. Department of Transportation's federal credit assistance program to jump start the first stretch of the project. The plan includes an improved, elevated two-lane highway running eight miles from Port Fourchon to Leesville, including a bridge over Bayou Lafourche.

The loan, created under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, targets large, capital-intensive projects for federal credit assistance to help them move toward completion. Under the loan terms, Louisiana will repay the money using toll revenue generated by the road.

"TIFIA is a way to finance transportation projects that otherwise might be delayed, or not built at all, because of funding constraints," Capka added.

Currently, LA-1, a narrow two-lane road ending at the Gulf of Mexico, is the only highway to Port Fourchon used to transport oil and natural gas - about 18 percent of the nation's supply. Truck traffic has grown annually, and the trend is expected to continue. Although the existing road is a critical hurricane evacuation route, it is barely above sea level and in poor structural condition.

Construction on the first phase of the project will start this fall and the road will open by 2011. The completed project will be an elevated four-lane highway running roughly parallel to LA-1.

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