Press releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to Elaine Chao, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, this week in support of $25 million in federal funding for the widening and rehabilitation of Interstate 12 in St. Tammany Parish. 

Traffic congestion on that stretch of Interstate 12 triggered accidents that killed four people over Memorial Day weekend.  According to news reports, there were 222 accidents in 2016 on this problematic portion of interstate.  Just four years ealier, in 2012, there were 135 wrecks.  

“St. Tammany Parish has agreed to put up $7.2 million if the federal government can kick in $25 million to speed up this project.  Tragedies like the Memorial Day weekend fatalities underscore the urgency of reducing traffic congestion on this stretch of roadway,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This project is critical to the safety of St. Tammany Parish residents.”


July 18, 2018

The Honorable Elaine Chao


United States Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, D.C. 20590

Re: FY 2018 BUILD Grant Application, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana: Interstate 12 Widening and Rehabilitation Project

Dear Secretary Chao,

I am writing to you today to express my strong support for the FY 2018 Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) discretionary grant application submitted to the United States Department of Transportation by St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana for funding to widen and rehabilitate 3.8 miles along Interstate 12 (I-12). St. Tammany is requesting $25 million and will match BUILD funds with $11 million in non-federal sponsor funds for the engineering, design, and construction costs related to the project that is well positioned to begin construction by mid-2020 and be completed by the end of 2021.

Freight trucking is predicated to move over $700 billion in goods and products by 2038 in the state. I-12 is and will be a significant corridor to generating exceptional economic and social benefits for the nation. Furthermore, funding of this project will not only improve connectivity between ports and railroads within the Lake Pontchartrain and Pearl River Basins, but also ensure a safe and efficient evacuation route for coastal residents in Louisiana and Mississippi.

I-12 is part of the National Highway Freight Network and Louisiana’s Tier 1 Freight Network. However, the segment between Louisiana State Highway 21 and U.S. 190 has been given a “Near Capacity” Level of Service grade. Currently, even non-fatal accidents can block traffic in this corridor for hours with traffic forecasts predicting that congestion will only continue to grow substantially. It’s tragedies like the Memorial Day weekend accident that claimed four lives near Covington that underscore the need for this funding to alleviate these dangerous levels of congestion.

This project is critically important to the safety of our citizens and the continued success of our regional and national economy. I respectfully ask that you give your careful attention and support for St. Tammany Parish’s proposal.


John Kennedy

United State Senator