Construction bill gets through Senate committee
By Sarah Gamard / Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE — The Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Thursday made minor tweaks to the package of capital outlay bills worth nearly a billion dollars in state and local construction projects before sending it to the full Senate for expected passage Friday.
This includes House Bill 2 and House Bill 3, which fund and execute around $930 million worth of top-priority construction projects throughout Louisiana.
In total, this amounts to about $1.67 million less than the House’s version in total project funding — a difference of less than 0.002 percent.
HB2 projects now have until June 30 to submit application requests and obtain late approval. Before the Senate committee, projects had less than a week to submit requests.
The Senate committee also approved (with tweaks) Abramson’s House Bill 7, which for one year grandfathers in projects that did not submit a timely funding request.
When HB2 left the House last week during the regular session, it dedicated $886 million to Priority 1 projects, those most likely to be completed next year. After Senate amendments, that number increased to $918 million.
The majority of the House Wednesday approved all three of Abramson’s bills, hiking the Priority 1 funding by another $12 million.
The latest draft of HB2 as amended by the Senate committee:
• Eliminates a $3.85 million Lafourche Parish field house project.
• Eliminates the $3.78 million Milne Boys Home project in Orleans Parish.
• Grants $363,000 for a Grande Isle Port project in Jefferson Parish
• Grants $94,000 for new equipment and a new roof at the Bogalusa YMCA in Washington Parish.
• Adds $2.5 million more to a $15 million Jefferson Parish project for an Ochsner Health transplant center.
• Adds about $3 million — more than triple the original appropriation — to a Nicholls State University athletic center renovation project in Lafourche Parish.
• Lowers the priority rating for a $3 million Grant Parish sewerage project from Priority 2 to Priority 5.
• Increases the priority rating for the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee in St. Charles Parish from Priority 2 to Priority 1.