Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced on January 3, 2019, that she has requested the St. Tammany Parish Council adopt a resolution to appropriate $7.2 Million in funding for the I-12 Widening project to satisfy St. Tammany Parish Government’s funding match as part of the BUILD Grant Award terms, at tonight’s Parish Council meeting.
“We entered into this nationwide competitive grant competition in 2018, with the intention of winning it, and so we set aside unexpended revenue in anticipation of needing our portion of the local match funding. Tonight, we will make this funding officially available,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “When the State is ready to move on this project, we will be ready on our end to make this project happen.”
The resolution proposes an amendment to the Capital Improvement Budget. A companion ordinance is also on the agenda for introduction to amend the Public Works Fund, the source of the $7.2 million match. This ordinance is expected to be adopted at the February 7, 2019 meeting, making the funding available for the end of February 2019, if adopted.
In early December 2018, Pat Brister announced that St. Tammany Parish won a competitive Federal BUILD Grant in the amount of $25 million. The $36 million total application encompasses $25 million in BUILD Grant funding; $7.2 million match from St. Tammany Parish Government; and a $3.8 million contribution from LADOTD. The project start date is to be determined after consultation with LADOTD.
Brister has been pushing for the prioritization of the I-12 widening project since 2013. In early June of 2018, she appealed to Governor John Bel Edwards and the LADOTD to move up the timeline of the project, after the state had previously pushed back construction, and in the wake of a fatal accident over Memorial Day weekend.
She also met several times with LADOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson to ensure the design of the project would continue as her search for funding continued, so that when the funding was identified, the project would be shovel-ready, as well as to request immediate short-term safety solutions. She announced the application for the BUILD Grant in mid-July and committed to $7.2 million in funding from Parish Government. The Louisiana Congressional delegation offered their written support, and made appeals through letters to U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Choa.
State LADOTD officials said in a December press conference announcing the award that work could begin as early as 2020 on this project.