Contract Awarded For Louisiana Intermodal Terminal Study
In a surprise move, the Louisiana legislature struck $130 million in long-term funding from the state’s capital outlay bill June 8 that would have supported construction of the Louisiana International Terminal, the new container terminal the Port of New Orleans plans to build in the St. Bernard Parish community of Violet. Less than a week later, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards sought to reiterate his support for the project, while also praising the award of a contract to GIS Engineering LLC for a transportation study related to the terminal.
“Investments in economic infrastructure projects, such as the Louisiana International Terminal, that provide quantifiable jobs and economic impact must be prioritized over ideological and political differences,” Edwards said. “The state of Louisiana remains fully committed to this project and is exploring ways to address the port’s immediate needs.”
The June 14 announcement from the governor detailed the study for the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor project, which will be an elevated roadway connecting the new terminal to I-510, a north-south spur that leads to I-10. The new roadway would allow much of the terminal truck traffic to avoid residential streets in St. Bernard, while also providing an additional route out of the parish. The Regional Planning Commission awarded the study to GIS Engineering. Earlier this year, the State Bond Commission provided a $2 million cash line of credit to support the transportation study. The remaining $48 million for the transportation study remains in the capital outlay bill.
“My administration, along with legislative leadership, committed $50 million in the state’s capital outlay bill to ensure these critical infrastructure projects move forward to support the Louisiana International Terminal development and to ensure the residents of St. Bernard Parish have the modern infrastructure in place for future economic development and population growth,” Edwards said. “The new terminal, along with the supporting infrastructure, will benefit residents and businesses throughout Louisiana and the nation and will attract advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, logistics and distribution investments.”
While the legislature’s actions represent at least a symbolic setback, the Louisiana International Terminal project has nonetheless garnered significant financial support, with Ports America and Terminal Investment Limited committing $800 million last December, along with a $500 million commitment from the port.
“I want to thank Gov. Edwards for his support of this historic investment in Louisiana,” said Brandy Christian, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. “The Louisiana International Terminal and its supporting infrastructure will benefit all corners of the state and enhance Louisiana’s global gateway for generations to come. We are pleased that this new terminal is serving as a catalyst project for a long-needed roadway in St Bernard.”
St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis also voiced support for the transportation project.
“This is the result of a lot of hard work by St. Bernard leaders along with the port, the state and the legislature, and this study will address serious traffic issues and is aimed at protecting the citizens of St. Bernard Parish,” McInnis said. “This shows that the governor and port remain serious about delivering a project that is beneficial to the people of St. Bernard and will address and answer impacts that may come.”