Senators respond to controversial infrastructure bill

By  | 

MONROE,La. (KNOE)- Representative Jay Morris is demanding answers after Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill allocating $700 million to infrastructure projects across the state, with no money going to Northeast Louisiana.

Local representative Jay Morris is demanding answers after Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill allocating 700 million dollars to infrastructure projects across the state, with no money going to Northeast Louisiana. (source: KNOE)

"It was a one time chance, “ Morris said.

Morris voted against the bill. But Senators Mike Walsworth, Francis Thompson, Jim Fannin, and Neil Riser all voted for it. Now, Morris is demanding to know why they agreed to what he calls a nine figure missed opportunity.

"I would think that there was an opportunity that there was an opportunity to get a slice of that $700 million," Morris said. "We might not have been able to get $100 million, but we might have been able to 50 or 60 million directed to specific projects in Northeast Louisiana."

Senator Walsworth says he voted "yes" on the bill because he says it allocates much needed money towards fixing rural bridges in his district.

"I've got agriculture that cannot move right now because of bridge problems that we got,” said Walsworth.

He says since it could take more than a year for the bill money to kick in, Northeast Louisiana still has plenty of time to get their slice of the pie.

“No it's not a one time shot or a one time deal," Walsworth said. "If we get our stuff together then hopefully we can find a project that needs to go in there."

Senator Jim Fannin agrees and says he's supported other bills that fund projects around Monroe.

“Monroe has got the Kansas Lane connector that I supported," Fannin said. "It wasn't in that bill but it is in house bill 2. It’s cash money and that bill will move forward."

The money from the infrastructure bill won't kick in for another year or two.

Morris says he hopes to get more money allocated to northeast Louisiana at the next legislative session in March 2020.