Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards outlined his plan for spending $1.6 billion in federal funding coming to Louisiana through President Joseph R. Biden’s American Rescue Plan to keep Louisiana on the road to post-pandemic recovery by investing in infrastructure, keeping the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund solvent, addressing Louisiana’s aging water systems, assisting the tourism industry and supporting Louisiana’s ports.
The state is awaiting final federal guidance on spending these ARP dollars. The $1.6 billion represents the first amount of funding Louisiana will draw down, with additional funding being used to address long-term priorities in future years.
“At our COVID-19 bottom, Louisiana’s economy was generating about 86 percent of our pre-virus economic output. Today, we’re back to more than 94 percent of pre-COVID levels, and growing. There is no doubt that Louisiana is on the mend, but we still need some help in order to make a full recovery. By investing these American Rescue Plan dollars wisely, we can shore up our unemployment insurance trust fund and avoid businesses paying higher taxes, continue to chip away at Louisiana’s backlog of infrastructure projects, support our tourism industry and improve our aging water infrastructure,” Gov. Edwards said. “I am deeply grateful to President Biden for his commitment to helping Louisiana kickstart its economy again after the crushing blow dealt to our country by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“I’m so thankful the Governor recognizes the importance of tourism and supports our efforts to reignite the state’s fourth largest industry,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “As every destination on the globe fights for potential visitors, these funds will give us the means to advertise and market our great state during a time of unprecedented competition. We want Louisiana to stand out from the crowd as a top travel destination.”
Governor Edwards’ priorities for the first $1.6 billion in funding are:
- Shoring up the Unemployment Trust Fund – $400 million
- Unemployment Insurance loan payment – $230 million
- Infrastructure – $400 million
- Water and Sewer Systems – $300 million
- Tourism and Convention and Visitors Bureaus – $125 million
- Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism – $20 million
- Louisiana Ports – $50 million