LIVINGSTON – Productive meetings with Louisiana’s Congressional delegation give hope more help could come to the area, but plenty work remains, Parish President Layton Ricks said.
Congressman Garret Graves and U.S. Senate members Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy pledged support for additional money for flood prevention and infrastructure, said Ricks, who accompanied parish presidents from three other parishes – Ascension, Iberville and St. James – for meetings Mardi Gras week on Capitol Hill during the National Association of County Officers Convention.
“The meetings went very well, but we still have to work with other senators and congressmen,” he said. “It’s going to be tough … no doubt.”
Ricks also met with House Whip Steve Scalise, which could yield additional support for the wish list.
“It helps put a name in front of the faces,” Ricks said.
The funds may not funnel down to Louisiana the first year, but big projects seldom come to fruition during a transitional year.
The results could still prove positive for the parishes, Ricks said.
“We have a new administration, which means it’s going to be difficult to start anything anyway because President Trump’s hands are full, but we have a Republican-controlled Congress and Senate, and a Republican President – and that could help us.”
President Trump has proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement project, which could help improve in parishes affected by the August floods.
Ricks and other officials also want to see the federal dollars trickle to the local levels, rather than fall under state discretion.
“If we’re fortunate enough to get more dollars, I believe we should fill the coffers for the school boards, along with parish and municipal governments,” he said. “We’re the ones who have to plug up the holes.”