Thursday, June 20, 2024

Governor Jeff Landry and Louisiana Legislature Commit $230.5 Million to Port NOLA Infrastructure

by BPT Staff
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The recent 2024 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature committed $230.5 million to Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) infrastructure projects including the Port’s new downriver container terminal, the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT) and the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor, which is envisioned to connect the $1.8 billion LIT to the interstate system and deliver a road that has long been sought after by St. Bernard Parish leaders and residents. 

“We want to thank Governor Jeff Landry and the Louisiana Legislature for this significant funding commitment,” said Port NOLA Acting President & CEO and Acting CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, Ronald Wendel, Jr. “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.”

LIT received $10 million in direct state general funding and $140 million in Priority 5 state funding that will support design and construction activities. An additional $50 million in state funding remains secured to support construction of the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor, as well as $30.5 million ($3 million of which is in the direct state general fund) for rehabilitation, planning, and construction of the St. Claude Bridge.

“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,” said Julia Fisher-Cormier, Commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Multimodal Commerce. “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 continues to prioritize development of the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor as a parallel project with construction of the LIT. 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 to come.

LIT will be built in Violet, Louisiana, 17 miles downriver from the Crescent City Connection bridge, eliminating air draft restrictions for vessels that currently call on the Port of New Orleans. It will serve vessels of all sizes, dramatically increasing Louisiana’s import and export capacity, foster strategic inland growth and allow both container-on-barge and intermodal services to expand.

LIT is the largest public economic development project in the state of Louisiana. By 2050, it is expected to generate 32,000 new jobs nationwide, more than 18,000 in Louisiana, 4,300 in St. Bernard Parish as well as more than $1 billion in new state and local tax revenue.

“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,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “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 $230.5 million state commitment is in addition to $300 million in landmark federal funding awarded to Port NOLA earlier this year to assist in building LIT. That is the largest federal investment in a new container terminal in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. LIT has also garnered support from more than a dozen ports in six states as well as from major trade and agriculture associations throughout the heartland of America.

LIT will be built through a historic public-private partnership between Port NOLA and two private terminal operators. New Jersey-based Ports America, North America’s largest marine terminal operator, and Geneva, Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, through its terminal development and investment arm, Terminal Investment Limited (TiL), have committed $800 million toward the project. 

LIT is currently in the federal permitting process. Construction is expected to begin in 2025 with the first berth opening in 2028.

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