NEW ORLEANS — On Thursday, President Joe Biden will make his first visit to Louisiana as President.
Biden’s first stop will be in Lake Charles before heading to New Orleans in the afternoon. Biden will look at one of New Orleans’ biggest problems, the Sewerage and Water Board’s aging equipment at the Carrollton Water Plant.
The White House said President Biden wants to talk directly to Louisianans about his American Jobs Plan and rebuilding infrastructure.
“He wants to talk about what this plan could mean for the people of Louisiana,” said Chris Meagher, Deputy White House Press Secretary.
Meagher said Biden sees rebuilding Louisiana’s water infrastructure, roads and investing in broadband as a priority.
“Louisiana is a place where 60% of the people lives in a place that only offers one internet service provider with minimal internet speeds,” Meagher said. “Thousands of miles of Louisiana roads need rebuilding, 1600 bridges in Louisiana are in poor condition.”
Biden believes his plan is an investment in the middle class and will help grow America’s economy.
His infrastructure plan tops $2 trillion. Roughly $111 billion of that would go towards upgrading the country’s drinking water, storm water and waste water systems like the Sewerage and Water Board’s Carrollton Water Plant.
“The water plant there is working off turbines that are over a century old. The people of Louisiana deserve better than that and that’s why water infrastructure is part of this infrastructure plan. Water is the key to living and its the key to a lot of business and economical parts as well,” Meagher said.
Louisiana’s two republican U. S. Senators believe Biden’s plan is costly and misleading.
“Based on his plan right now, which is it’s not an infrastructure plan, it’s a green new deal, reparations, welfare plan,” said U.S. Senator John Kennedy. “I’m not voting for it for the same reason I don’t drink water out of the toilet.”
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy said, “The amount of spending for roads and bridges is so low that and split between 50 states over five years, you’re not going to get your bridge now.”
The President’s national infrastructure plan is still only a proposal. The White House said the President is open to compromising.
Meagher said, “Now he’s in listening mode. He’s engaged with members on the hill, he’s engaged with bipartisan groups of senators and members of Congress to hear what their proposals are. If they have a different way of paying for things, he’s open to hearing that.”
At this time, no word on how much money New Orleans or Louisiana could see if Biden’s plan moves forward.
“The infrastructure that we’re talking about not only pays for itself but will prepare regions like Louisiana for the future,” Meagher said.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell is expected to meet President Biden when he lands on Thursday.
While President Biden is in Lake Charles, Governor John Bel Edwards will meet with the him to discuss infrastructure, hurricane recovery and the American Rescue Plan.