$20 million for Baton Rouge to New Orleans rail upgrades includes Gonzales station

Staff Report
Congressman Garret Graves, shown in a file photo during a visit to Pointe Coupee Parish, announced $20 million in funding for Baton Rouge and Gonzales train stations for the New Orleans to Baton Rouge rail project.

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves announced $20 million to advance the Baton Rouge to New Orleans rail project, which provides funding for real estate acquisition, design, and construction of the Baton Rouge and Gonzales train stations.

“For the past two years, we’ve watched the U.S. Department of Transportation give away billions of dollars in grants to flawed transportation and infrastructure priorities. As a result, Louisiana has largely been left off the awards list in place of excessive funding going to California and other states. While this federal funding for the Capital Region is good news to help relieve pressure on I-10, there are high priority projects we must get built. A new bridge crossing the Mississippi River and upgrades to Highway 30 and LA-1 needed to get built yesterday. We will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund priority projects — not the Administration’s pet political projects,” Graves stated in a news release.

Last month and in June 2021, Graves questioned how the U.S. Department of Transportation moved forward in giving nearly $1 billion in grants to transportation and infrastructure projects based on subjective criteria, objectives, and goals. Graves said at the time: “Nearly $1 billion was given out this week in INFRA grants without proper criteria… this is why we have concerns about how this Administration is running things. Not one project in Louisiana made the list despite our energy, resiliency and infrastructure priorities, or our traffic and flooding problems.” 

On March 25, 2021, Graves asked Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about how under the new criteria for Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grants set by the current DOT, there is an apparent disregard for legal requirements in exchange for unquantifiable political objectives. The key program objectives established distort, undermine, and even contradict the objectives required by law at the time. Graves first brought the issue to Buttigieg’s attention the week before March 25, 2021.