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Louisiana Legislature Allocates $230.5 Million to Boost Port NOLA Infrastructure

The Louisiana Legislature has committed a whopping $230.5 million to the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) infrastructure projects. This funding, approved during the recent 2024 regular session, will support the development of the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) and the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor.

Ronald Wendel, Jr., Acting President and CEO of Port NOLA, expressed his gratitude for the substantial investment. “We want to thank Governor Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Legislature for this significant funding commitment,” Wendel stated. “These critical infrastructure projects will solidify Louisiana’s position as the premier global gateway in the Gulf, ensure thousands of jobs as well as long-term economic growth for the region and state.”

The allocation includes $10 million in direct state general funding and $140 million in Priority 5 state funding for the LIT, which will support its design and construction. Additionally, $50 million has been earmarked for the construction of the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor, alongside $30.5 million for the rehabilitation, planning, and construction of the St. Claude Bridge.

Julia Fisher-Cormier, Commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Multimodal Commerce, highlighted the importance of these investments. “The Legislature’s backing of infrastructure funding to support the Louisiana International Terminal builds upon commitments of more than $1.1 billion from the federal government and private sector,” she said. “These are the type of public investments Louisiana must make to transform our trade-based economy and secure our position as a future leader of global trade.”

Port NOLA has prioritized the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor as a parallel project with the LIT construction. The Regional Planning Commission awarded a contract to GIS Engineering LLC in June 2023 to study the corridor and other roadway improvements that will support LIT and St. Bernard Parish for decades.

Located 17 miles downriver from the Crescent City Connection bridge in Violet, Louisiana, the LIT will eliminate air draft restrictions for vessels currently calling on the Port of New Orleans. It will accommodate vessels of all sizes, significantly increasing Louisiana’s import and export capacity, fostering inland growth, and expanding container-on-barge and intermodal services.

LIT represents the largest public economic development project in Louisiana’s history. By 2050, it is projected to create 32,000 new jobs nationwide, with over 18,000 in Louisiana and 4,300 in St. Bernard Parish alone. Additionally, it is expected to generate more than $1 billion in new state and local tax revenue.

Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., emphasized the project’s impact. “Louisiana lawmakers have clearly spoken with this legislation, which will help build one of the state’s most critical transportation assets – The Louisiana International Terminal,” Hecht noted. “Not only will this project generate thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues, it will ensure that Louisiana continues to lead in international trade, its raison d’être.”

The state’s commitment follows a landmark $300 million federal funding awarded to Port NOLA earlier this year, marking the largest federal investment in a new container terminal in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The LIT project has also garnered support from over a dozen ports across six states, as well as major trade and agriculture associations throughout America’s heartland.

The LIT will be realized through a historic public-private partnership between Port NOLA and two private terminal operators. Ports America, North America’s largest marine terminal operator, and Terminal Investment Limited (TiL), the terminal development and investment arm of Mediterranean Shipping Company, have pledged $800 million toward the project. With construction expected to begin in 2025, the first berth is anticipated to open in 2028.

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