Sen. Kennedy (R-La.): Appropriations Committee Allocates Additional $74 Million For Louisiana Transportation Projects
Jun 13 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R. La) announced today that the Senate Appropriations Committee added an additional $74 million for Louisiana road and transportation projects in the annual transportation funding bill. The funding levels approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee would provide an estimated $814 million for Louisiana next year from the Federal Highway Trust fund.
The bill now moves to the Senate floor for consideration.
“Too many of Louisiana’s roads are axle-breaking insults to modern civilization,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Our roads are also too congested, leading to tragedies like the Memorial Day weekend accident that claimed four lives near Covington. With a 10% increase in our federal highway funding level, we can get started on making the daily commute safer.”
Jun 11 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Army Corps of Engineers will spend more than $323 million on projects across Louisiana. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Kennedy helped secure these funds, including $14 million for the Comite River Diversion Canal and $9.47 million for the Houma Navigation Canal.
“Louisiana is sorely lacking in flood control and protection. The Comite River Diversion Canal and the Houma Navigation Canal are just two examples of projects that need funding so homeowners can sleep without worry at night,” said Sen. Kennedy. “That’s why I am pleased to announce more than $323 million in funding for our state’s water infrastructure projects. These funds will go a long way towards helping Louisiana.”
Below are just a few highlights included in the Army Corps of Engineer’s FY 2018 Work Plan:
Construction Funding Projects:
- $1 million for the Ascension Parish Environmental Infrastructure Program: These funds will be used for the supervision, administration and construction of the effluent discharge system.
- $14 million for the Comite River Diversion Canal: These funds will help fund various segments of the flood control project.
- $1.5 million for the East Baton Rouge Parish Environmental Infrastructure Program: This money will go towards the pump station construction.
- $250,000 for the Iberia Parish Environmental Infrastructure Program: These funds will go towards the water and waste water infrastructure master plan.
- $750,000 for the Livingston Parish Environmental Infrastructure Program: This money will go towards the water and waste water infrastructure master plan.
- $900,000 for the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway project: This money will be used to help design and construct the Teague Trails Extension south recreation feature in Bossier Parish.
Mississippi River and Tributaries Funding:
- $1.807 million for the Atchafalaya Basin’s floodway system: These funds will be used to manage, operate and protect natural resources on approximately 50,000 acres, including visitor assistance.
- $51.789 million for the Atchafalaya Basin: This money will go towards operating and maintaining the flood risk management project feature to maintain the integrity and reliability of the existing structure and facilities.
- $24.85 million for the Atchafalaya Basin: Will help perform bank stabilization/revetment repairs at Bayou Big Graw, Petite Prairie and Calumet flood gate; procure levee surfacing materials; repair Morganza control structure expansion joins and gate seals; process Morganza control structure- paint contract calm; perform Bayou Boeuf lock major gat maintenance and dewatering repair timber guide wall and chamber wall at Bayou Sorrel and Bayou Boeuf Lock.
- $11.3 million for the Atchafalaya Basin: To replace Bayou Boeuf south chamber guide wall; perform Bayou Sorrel south end gate repairs and dewatering and develop plans and specifications for guide wall replacement at Bayou Boeuf and Bayou Sorrel locks.
- $543,000 for the Baton Rouge Harbor- Devil Swamp: Funding will be used to provide engineering, design and surveys for dredging.
- $36,000 for the Bayou Cocodrie and Tributaries: Funding will be used for routine operation and maintenance for flood risk management activities.
- $2.345 million for Bonnet Carre: To operate and maintain this project feature; manage and maintain natural resources including bottomland hard and swamp reforestation; create new parking areas and re-open North Main Road; and construct ranger office with energy efficiency improvements. It will also help perform monthly water quality sampling; provide invasive plant management; provide pond improvements for fisheries management; and procure limestone for road maintenance.
- $1.727 million for inspection of completed works: Inspection and levee screenings of 470.6 miles of levees, 461.5 miles of channels, 131 drainage structures, 5 pumping stations and 15 weirs in the state of Louisiana.
- $638,000 for the Lower Red River South Bank Levees: Funding will be used to perform routine operations and maintenance, including levee slide repairs and gravel surfacing.
- $976,000 for the Mississippi Delta Region in Louisiana: Funds will be used to perform routine operation and maintenance for the Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion Structure.
- $23.509 million for the Old River: Operate and maintain this project’s flood risk features, including periodic inspections; operate and maintain the integrity of the existing structures and facilities, instrumentation data gathering which is essential in evaluating the performance of the structures and bridges and is an integral part of the periodic inspection and continuing evaluation of completed civil works structures and USACE bridges; operate and maintain the existing lock facilities.
- $16.2 million for the Old River: Fabricate two miter gates; replace the gantry crane; replace the lowering carriage; repair tainter valves, replace handrails, refurbish mooring bits and construct levee ramp.
- $6.615 million for the Tensas Basin for the Red River Backwater: Funding will be used to continue operation and maintenance work.
Operation and Maintenance Funding:
- $15.645 million for Atchafalaya River and Bayous Chene, Boeuf and Black: Funds are being used to dredge critical reaches in Atchafalaya River, Crewboat Cut, Bay and Bar, perform channel condition surveys of the entire project and routine operation and maintenance, coordinate and prepare environmental compliance consistency and continue monitoring the effectiveness of Value Engineering Study alternatives to improve navigation and to alleviate unconsolidated fluid mud in the bar channel.
- $100,000 for Barataria Bay Waterway: Funds are being used for project management, hydrographic surveys, permit reviews and to prepare for future dredging operations.
- $1.512 million for Bayou Bodcau Reservoir: Funds are being used for routine operation and maintenance and to perform slide repairs on the levee.
- $769,000 for Bayou Lafourche and Lafourche Jump Waterway: Funds are being used for project management, dredging, hydrographic surveys, environmental assessments, managing water level data, to reset gauges from National Geodetic Vertical Datum to North American Vertical Datum, permit applications, right-of-entry to dredged material disposal areas, foreshore and jetty rock repairs.
- $42,000 for Bayou Pierre: Funds are being used for routine operation and maintenance.
- $20,000 for Bayou Segnette Waterway: Funds are being used for project management, hydrographic surveys, dredging preparation efforts and to review permit applications.
- $12,000 for Bayou Teche and Vermilion River: Funds are being used for permit review for Teche Vermilion.
- $50,000 for Bayou Teche: Funds are being used for hydrographic surveys real estate management, maintenance dredging and permit reviews.
- $198,000 for Caddo Lake: Funds are being used for routine operation and maintenance.
- $34.556 million for Calcasieu River and Pass: Funds are being used for maintenance dredging, to operate and maintain the Saltwater Barrier Control Structure, hydrographic surveys, right-of-entry for dredged material disposal areas, to reduce encroachments, instrumentation data collection, environmental planning for dredging and permit reviews.
- $1.824 million for Freshwater Bayou: Funds are being used for operating and maintaining Freshwater Bayou Lock, hydrographic surveys and collection of instrumentation/engineering data to monitor the lock’s stability, sustaining energy savings, real estate and permit reviews.
- $26.871 million for Gulf Intracoastal Waterway: Funds are being used for dredging, hired labor maintenance and operating expenses on 6 GIWW locks, dewatering Harvey Lock, Algiers Lock concrete joint repairs, hydrographic surveys and to collect and manage data from water level gauges.
- $9.479 million for Houma Navigation Canal: Funds are being used for project management, for dredging operations, to perform hydrographic surveys, to provide right of entry for dredged material disposal areas, environmental monitoring and to collect, manage, store and disseminate water level data.
- $866,000 for Inspection of Completed Works: Funds are being used to inspect federally constructed and locally maintained flood risk management projects with an emphasis on approximately 11,750 of federally authorized and locally maintained levee systems. Funds are also used to review updates to project operation and maintenance manuals.
- $12.288 million for J. Bennett Johnston Waterway: Funds are being used for operation and maintenance, maintenance dredging and operation and maintenance of recreation/visitation areas.
- $12,000 for Lake Providence Harbor: The funds are being used for surveys.
- $296,000 for Madison Parish Port: These funds are being used for surveys and for annual maintenance dredging required to maintain authorized channel dimensions to ensure the harbor is open during low water periods.
- $3.476 million for Mermentau River: Funds are being used for the operation and maintenance of the Catfish Point and Schooner Bayou Control Structures and hydrographic surveys.
- $1.449 million for Mississippi River Outlets at Venice: Funds are being used for project management, dredging, surveys, environmental assessments, permits, real estate management and water level data.
- $1.035 million for Calcasieu Lock: Funding will complete the preconstruction, engineering and design phase.
- $1.285 million for Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock Replacement: Funding will complete the feasibility study phase for the reevaluation.
- $820,000 for Southwest Coastal Louisiana: Funding will initiate the preconstruction, engineering and design phase.
- $101.929 million for Mississippi River, Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico: Funds are being used for maintenance dredging to partial channel dimensions from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico (Southwest Pass, New Orleans Harbor, crossings between Baton Rouge and New Orleans), channel surveys, salt water barrier sill, rock projection, jetty repairs, water management, environment and real estate. These funds are being used only provide partial dimensions, restricting transit of deep draft commercial vessels through the largest US port complex.
- $54,000 for Project Condition Surveys: Funds are being used for performing hydrographic and topographic project condition surveys (PCS) for federally authorized navigation projects, including navigation channels, inlets, anchorages, structures such as jetties and breakwaters and other navigation features within the states. Funds are also used to respond to unanticipated needs, including concerns raised by the U.S. Coast Guard, local harbor masters or other agencies regarding projects that have become shoaled as a result of severe storming and/or abnormal deposition rates that may have compromised safe navigation.
- $200,000 for Removal of Aquatic Growth: Funds are being used for work with state applicators to identify and treat specific point sources (if state resources are available) and to handle inquiries and complaints from the public regarding the expansion of water hyacinth, alligator weed, common salvinia and other noxious aquatic plants within district navigable waterways.
- $213,000 for Wallace Lake: Funds are being used for routine operation and maintenance.
- $8,000 for Waterway from Empire to Gulf: Funds are being used for project management, hydrographic surveys, Water Control Data Systems and to review permit applications.
- $22,000 for Waterway from Intracoastal Waterway to Bayou Dulac: Funds are being used for project management, hydrographic surveys and preparations for future dredging contacts and permit application reviews.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today filed the Fraud Reduction Through Photographic Identification Act to reduce fraud that wastes taxpayer dollars. The act will require food stamp recipients to show a photo ID when using a benefit card that doesn’t have a photo on it.
“Welfare fraud costs taxpayers $75 billion per year. Too many people trade their food stamps for cigarettes, cash or drugs. We can’t allow them to abuse taxpayer dollars,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It’s not asking a lot to show a photo ID in order to preserve the integrity of a program funded through the generosity of taxpayers. At the very least, we’ll ensure that these benefits are used, as intended, to feed the vulnerable and not to feed a drug habit.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Sends Letter to Louisiana Governor on Taxpayer Funds Being Wasted by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission
Jun 06 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent the following letter to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards regarding the waste of taxpayer money at the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. The letter, seen below, was also sent to President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
June 5, 2018
The Honorable John Bel Edwards
State of Louisiana
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804
Dear Governor Edwards:
I am writing to inquire what you plan to do about the inexcusable waste of taxpayer funds at the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. An internal audit by the Department of Public Safety revealed problems with overtime, travel expenses, consulting contracts, payroll and the safeguarding of expensive purchases. Do you plan to try to recover any of this money for the taxpayers?
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission receives nearly $40 million a year in taxpayer funding. The money, 92% of which is federal dollars, is appropriated through House Bill 1. I, along with the rest of the Louisiana delegation, am responsible for ensuring that this money is spent, as intended, on reducing traffic accidents. Louisiana has the second highest number of hit-and-run fatalities per capita in the nation. It is alarming to me that the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has a history of questionable spending practices and sloppy bookkeeping, not to mention the fact that salaries and benefits consume 86% of its expenditures.
The internal audit found 15 areas of concern. The audit revealed that employees used state funds to buy jazz brunch tickets, accepted Essence Festival tickets in violation of state ethics laws, ignored the bid laws regarding consulting contracts, kept poor payroll records, paid 226.5 hours of overtime to a single employee without any evidence to support the claim, overcharged for expenses, kept sloppy travel records, failed to safeguard public funds and neglected to keep tabs on expensive camera equipment.
The bulk of the problems appear to have occurred under the leadership of Katara Williams, whom you appointed. It is my understanding that Dr. Williams now holds a high-ranking position at Southern University. It is concerning that Dr. Williams continues to be on the public payroll given the management problems at the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
If this is how state officials are allowed to spend taxpayer money, then it is no wonder to me that the state is running a budget deficit. Clearly, the state needs to eliminate waste like this before asking taxpayers to pay even more in taxes.
Thank you, Governor, for your consideration of this request.
United States Senator
CC: The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao
Jun 05 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R. La) today announced a $45 million Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for the Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement project. This project will reinforce an aged concrete tunnel and bridge crossing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. This project will stimulate industrial growth, improve transportation efficiency in daily commutes and increase hurricane evacuation capacity.
“The Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel are in poor condition. The tunnel leaks so much that it’s basically a car wash, and the bridge isn’t much better. Replacing and updating these structures will be a relief to drivers in Plaquemines Parish,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It’s important that we work together at the state and federal levels to modernize and improve the safety of Louisiana’s infrastructure.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement this afternoon after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the traditional August recess will be canceled. Sen. Kennedy had previously joined his Republican Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the Majority Leader calling for August recess to be canceled. A copy of the letter is attached.
“As much as I love being out of Washington, D.C., and back in Louisiana, it’s time to get important work done,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Majority Leader McConnell made the right decision in canceling the August work period. We need to work nights, weekends and holidays to deliver the promises that were made to the American people. That starts with confirming the 264 nominees still waiting, passing all the appropriations bills and fixing the National Flood Insurance Program.”
Jun 05 2018
“Citigroup and Bank of America have decided to make banking a red versus blue issue by trampling on the Second Amendment rights of small business owners.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate this afternoon about Bank of America and Citigroup’s anti-Second Amendment policies. On March 22, Citigroup issued a press release detailing how it will penalize banking clients who follow federal, state and local laws. Citigroup’s new policy tells businesses what kind of firearms and accessories they can stock in their stores, and who they can sell them to. On April 10, Bank of America announced that it will no longer loan money to businesses that manufacture semi-automatic rifles.
Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full speech.
Red Banks and Blue Banks: “Citigroup and Bank of America have decided to make banking a red versus blue issue by trampling on the Second Amendment rights of small business owners. And if additional big consumer banks come out with similar anti-gun policies, it will get harder and harder for businesses in Louisiana and elsewhere to find banking services. We’ll have red banks and blue banks.”
Big Banks Turn Their Backs On Taxpayers: “Citigroup and Bank of America owe their continued existence to the generosity of the American taxpayer. Both Citigroup and Bank of America are considered by the U.S. government to be ‘systemically important banks.’ That’s why they got bailed out in 2009. They act as a source of credit for households, businesses and local and state governments, and as a source of liquidity for the entire banking system. But that also means that their corporate policies will have ripple effects on every corner of our economy: from consumers and businesses of all sizes to banks and nonbank holding companies.
Sen. Kennedy Protects American Taxpayers: “I want to make sure that the federal government isn’t rewarding this behavior with even more taxpayer dollars. I have already petitioned the General Services Administration to cancel the federal government’s $700 billion contract with Citigroup, and I have urged officials in the state of Louisiana to reevaluate state contracts with any Wall Street Bank that chooses to implement an extralegal policy that infringes on the Second Amendment.”
Big Banks’ Short Memory: “It is offensive that Wall Street banks are taking taxpayer dollars with one hand, and using the other to come after America’s guns. Rather than impose its political agenda on law abiding citizens, these Wall Street banks ought to remember how taxpayers spent billions to bail them out after the 2008 financial crisis. They owe a tremendous debt to the American public. It seems that they have a very short memory.”
Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Urges Louisiana Families to Remain Cautious as Subtropical Storm Alberto Approaches
May 25 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement on Subtropical Storm Alberto:
“As Subtropical Storm Alberto approaches the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, I want to remind Louisianans to keep an eye on the weather as they enjoy Memorial Day weekend, especially if they plan to go fishing in the Gulf,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Even though we here in Louisiana are used to severe weather, that doesn’t mean that this system should be taken lightly. Please make sure you have the necessary precautions in place to stay safe.”
Below are some helpful tips, information and guidelines, provided by FEMA, on how to stay safe and informed.
FEMA encourages individuals and families in the affected areas to continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information and to follow the instructions of state, tribal and local officials. Only enter areas that have sustained damage after local officials have said it is safe to do so.
If you have a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policy, you may be eligible for reimbursement of actions taken to protect your property. Call your insurance agent to find out more.
To file a flood insurance claim under the NFIP, contact your insurance agent immediately. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – select option 2 – to learn more about your policy, and be directed to the appropriate claims resource. Within 24 to 48 hours, an adjuster will call you to schedule an appointment.
Download the FEMA mobile app to set up alerts for the latest weather updates, shelter information, disaster resources, preparedness information and safety tips, in English and in Spanish. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.
- We urge all individuals to monitor NOAA Weather Radio and their local news for updates and directions provided by their local officials.
- Be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan, keep a battery-powered radio handy and have a plan for your pets. Visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to learn more about these and other preparedness tips for tropical storms.
- Tropical storms have the potential for tornado formation. If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in the center of a small interior room (closet, interior hallway) on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
- There is the potential for flooding with this storm. Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous and almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low-lying areas, at bridges and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- If you encounter flood waters, don’t attempt to pass through water – TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN. Don’t drive or walk through flood waters. It only takes a small amount of water to move people or vehicles.
- Get to know the terms used to identify tropical storms and discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.
- A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical cyclone containing winds of at least 39 MPH or higher poses a possible threat, generally within 48 hours.
- A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when sustained winds of 39 MPH or higher associated with a tropical cyclone are expected in 36 hours or less.
- Get to know the terms used to identify floods and discuss with your family what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued.
o A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.
o A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
o A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding.
o A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.
o A Flash Flood Emergency is issued when severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is imminent or ongoing.
o A River Flood Watch is issued when river flooding is possible at one or more forecast points along a river.
o A River Flood Warning is issued when river flooding is occurring or imminent at one or more forecast points along a river.
May 25 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that Scott Patrick Illing has been confirmed to serve as the U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Illing on his confirmation to serve as the U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Mr. Illing will oversee one of the most important areas in our state for drug and crime prevention. As a lifelong resident of St. Tammany Parish, a former Louisiana state trooper and a retired investigator for the U.S. Customs Service in New Orleans, he is more than qualified and ready to serve.”