Federal Infrastructure Plan Win-Win for America and Louisiana

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In prepared remarks before the Bureau of Governmental Relations (BGR) yesterday, Congressman Troy Carter highlighted federal assistance programs that are helping Louisiana’s businesses and residents while also urging more cross-the-aisle friendships in Washington.   


“The bipartisan infrastructure package is a proud example of how we can work together and show that bipartisanship is not a bad word. This strong show of bipartisanship is a departure from political games and displays a renewed focus on delivery for the American people,” said Carter. It’s long past time for a game-changing investment in our nation’s infrastructure. “I hope my Republican colleagues in the House, especially my neighbors here in Louisiana, will put aside partisanship and vote for this powerful investment in making Louisiana work, like we saw Senator Cassidy do.” 

Carter called President Biden’s robust, hard-fought infrastructure plan a “win-win for America.” While we improve daily life for Americans, tens of thousands of good-paying jobs can be created, while supporting American industry.

In Louisiana there are 1,534 bridges over 3,411 miles of highways in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 9.3% in Louisiana and on average, each driver pays $667 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. “We can and must do better,” Carter exclaimed.

Still pending in Congress, the infrastructure package is expected to bring:

$4.8 Billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $1.013 Billion for bridge replacement and repairs over 5 years.

$470 Million over five years to improve public transportation options.

$3.5 Billion that will go toward flood mitigation and $109 million for Louisiana Corps of Engineers’ federal projects to dredge and repair damages caused by Hurricane Laura, Delta and Zeta.

$100 Million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 470,000 Louisianans who currently lack it.

37.2% of people in Louisiana will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low income families afford internet access. 

$580 Million over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is right in all communities. “This bucket of funding will allow us to make upgrades to the aging S&WB facilities in our region. President Biden came to NO to highlight these old systems as just the type of problem this bill aims to solve,” Carter explained.

While some funding for things like sewage and drainage will be put in the state’s revolving fund later this year, other funds for bridges or roads are likely a few years off from allocation. The time frame will depend on permitting and planning for those projects.

“Infrastructure cannot be the end point of the conversation about rebuilding our economy. We can, and we must think big. These trying times demand it. Too many people fall through the cracks, that aren’t in our sidewalks, but are in our social safety nets,” Carter continued.

The budget resolution is the first step toward life-changing programs like free community college, continuation of the expanded Child Tax Credit, expanded Medicare to include dental and vision coverage, and much more.


Congress also authorized over $46 Billion in funds to local and state governments to help people stay in their homes, through both rental, mortgage and small landlord assistance funds.

Carter said he was “concerned” there have been difficulties in rolling out those funds to the public efficiently and effectively. As of July 30th, the State of Louisiana’s US Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program has disbursed approximately $18 million in rental and utilities assistance.

“This has had an important impact on over 3,500 tenants. And yet, this is just a fraction of the Louisianans who need help,” said Carter. This issue came to a head last month when the CDD’s nationwide eviction ended, leaving an estimated 6 Million households nationwide at risk of eviction.

“We are still in the midst of a deadly pandemic and millions of Americans are unvaccinated and vulnerable. Thankfully, President Biden took action to extend the eviction moratoriums, supposedly for the final time, to ensure the public health and safety of millions of families.”

It is not a permanent solution, he explained, but it will allow state and local communities time to distribute Congress allocated funds to renters, landlords and homeowners in need.

Carter has written a letter to Governor Edwards requesting he implement a statewide moratorium in Louisiana, stressing the seriousness of this crisis and urgently asking him to allocate their available funds. “We don’t always have the money we need, In this case we do. We just need to get the word out and cut through the red tape for our community. I promise to keep working on this issue, and to be a federal partner to the state in getting these funds out,” said Carter.

Small Business

“Some may argue that apart from jazz, small businesses are the backbone amid the heart and soul of our economy. Unfortunately many of our favorites have been hit hard by the pandemic. Luckily federal programs provided help,” he continued.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included $50 Billion in funding to help American small businesses survive this tumultuous time. “The pandemic has shown us just how valuable small businesses are to our nation’s economy,” said Carter. Through the ARP the federal government has provided $1.25 billion for the SBA Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program $15 Billion for the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance Program and Billions more to the Paycheck Protection Program which was increased from $806.4 Billion to $813.7 Billion.

Carter believes that increased funding to those essential programs has been critical to helping small businesses recover from the pandemic and helping them build back better. “As a member of the Small Business Committee, I will always support efforts to improve these important programs and get relief to all business owners, from the smallest of small businesses to those operated in under-served communities.”

There are definitely ways that these relief processes can be improved, including technologically.

Additionally, Carter is focused on bringing more equity into the process, both in terms of racial equity and for smaller, locally-owned businesses. “We saw this issue right here in New Orleans.”

Carter also wanted to weigh in on one longtime piece of the country’s social safety net that has recently gotten stronger. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that benefit amounts for the program formerly known as food stamps will rise an average of 25 percent above pre-pandemic levels. Average monthly benefits, which were $121 per person before the pandemic, will rise by $36 under the new rules. 

“Thirty-six dollars might not seem like a lot to some of us, but for many families an extra $36 in food is a lifeline. This investment in SNAP is a game-changer in the battle against hunger and poverty for my district, which will receive the biggest share of these funds of all the congressional districts in Louisiana. These expanded SNAP benefits are a long overdue realignment to reflect the true costs of groceries and will help more working families get healthy food on the table. That’s really a good thing,” he explained.

One other way that Carter is working to help make ends meet for Louisianians is through student loan debt forgiveness. “It is so important to me that I actually made it the subject of my first bill that I introduced in Congress.” Carter’s bill would forgive up to $50,000 in federal student loans for any and all federal borrowers. 

“It’s Congress’ job to improve the lives of the American people. While some tragedies are out of our hands during this public health crisis, we can and should take action wherever we can. Easing the enormous burden of student loans for the millions of Americans, young and old, saddled with debt is one of my highest priorities in Congress,” he committed. 

The U.S. forgives loans all the time – to foreign countries, to financial institutions, to states and territories during a disaster. “If Americans were carrying less student debt, more Americans would be able to purchase a home, start a business and spend extra money in the local economy. When you think about it like that, forgiving student loans can be their own kind of stimulus!”

This legislation follows President’s Biden’s extension of the student loan payment moratorium until January 21, 2022 from September 30, 2021. While this extension provides a much-needed cushion for those crushed by student loan debt, this bill offers permanent forgiveness for all current federal borrowers.

The youngest of six children, Carter was raised by a single mother who taught him the value of education firsthand. “Education is a lifelong endeavor, key to growing and evolving. Pursuing a dream should not put a shadow over the future. It’s time to end student loan debt to ensure that all have the opportunity to succeed,” he stressed.

Though Carter has served in the U.S. House of Representatives less than 100 days, he was quick to compare his tenure to almost drinking from a firehose. “This experience is truly more than I ever could have imagined. My job as your representative is to listen and bring your voice back to Washington. That’s what I’m proud to do every day.”

Carter has succeeded in being a well-respected policymaker and public servant in nearly every level of government for the last three decades. “It’s been an honor and a privilege,” he proclaimed. Carter urged participants to “stay in touch” through social media, the telephone, newsletters or his website, Troycarter.house.gov    

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