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Louisiana, Mississippi governors’ column: Trump’s infrastructure plan marks progress
By Gov. John Bel Edwards and Gov. Phil Bryant
The Advocate [Baton Rouge, Louisiana]
April 4, 2018

As the elected leaders of Louisiana and Mississippi — two small, rural states — we are pleased and thankful President Donald Trump has started a national conversation on infrastructure with his proposal. We believe infrastructure is a critical factor to the economic success of our states, and if implemented properly, it will not only create jobs, but bring value to our citizens and build communities unlike this country has seen in decades.

Our states’ and the nation’s economy stand to benefit from improved preservation of highways and a strategic focus on expanding capacity of our interstate system. The president’s commitment to investing $1.5 trillion is refreshing and welcome news to the congested corridors in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The president’s infrastructure proposal validates the struggles governors, mayors and local business and industrial leaders are facing in rural communities in our states. This plan demonstrates a commitment to improving rural infrastructure through a block grant process that prioritizes community needs while engaging local leaders. A large percentage of rural state highways in this region serves as the backbone of an agriculture network that fuels and feeds the world.

There are no shortages of examples where an accelerated and streamlined environmental permitting process would result in moving a project from concept to construction in a more efficient and expedited fashion. Therefore, we see value in accelerating the environmental process such that we spend less of our dollars on process and more on actually building and repairing infrastructure our citizens can use in their daily lives.

The president’s infrastructure plan is not perfect, nor will it solve all of the nation’s infrastructure needs, but if acted on by Congress, it promises to restore confidence in our nation’s infrastructure, shores up our global competitiveness, and create jobs, while strengthening the economy for both rural and urban communities.

Read the full op-ed here.