It’s often best to take an issue or concern straight to the source instead of trying to muddle through red tape. It’s the approach five parish leaders used on a recent trip.

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks joined Mitchell Ourso of Iberville Parish, Kenny Matassa of Ascension, St. James Parish President Timmy Roussell and St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom on a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with Congressional delegation on infrastructure needs. They made the trip to the nation’s capital for the National Association of Congressional Leaders convention.

Drainage improvements highlight the wish list for all of the parish government heads, who joined together to outline those needs, as well as to let them know south Louisiana remains very much in the recovery mode in the wake of the August flood.

It’s part of a protocol many Capitol Hill delegates come to expect. In a reversal, of sorts, it boils down to “You call us … we won’t call you.”

Some constituents scoff at such trips, but they pay off far greater than the costs of the travel.

Much of the political process involves face-to-face meetings, much like a job interview. It also involves a very important part of the process of securing funds.

In the same way we wait in line for tickets to a big concert or ballgame, or to dine at a fine restaurant, others are also waiting – an intricate part of the equation here.

President Donald Trump has bandied about his plans for a $1 trillion infrastructure upgrade project. It’s a very ambitious move which could bring some much needed improvements to roadways and public works systems across the nation.

I can’t quite get picture a trillion dollars. Maybe I’m showing my age, but I can remember when a million dollars – and even $100,000 – packed a punch.

It doesn’t do the trick any more. As it stands, $2 billion won’t cover the recovery from the August flood.

Does it mean a trillion dollars will go far. No – and it’s almost a guarantee it will not. The cost of labor, construction, consultants and impact studies alone can eat into that money.

The sound of a trillion dollars in available infrastructure revenue, however, still gets the attention very easily.

It will certainly draw many heads of local and state governments to their office to meet with congressional delegation to pitch their need for some of the money.

Cities and counties/parishes across the nation all hope for a share of the money. For as much money as it seems, however, it will go quickly.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are well aware of that notion. They also know their votes help set aside those dollars for the project they’re convinced will figure as the best use of the revenue.

It all comes down to get in line, wait your turn – and be prepared to wait a while.

But it comes to which of county/parish leaders make the pitch, and which of them make the most effort to meet them. Yes, it almost seems like a form of ego-stroking – and maybe it is.

But they control the strings to the purse that hold the money. They also know the needs far outweigh the amount of cash available.

It comes down to making the pitch as soon as possible. To borrow from a classic rock tune, they’d better hurry because it’s going fast.

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