WASHINGTON — Governors and transportation officials along the Gulf Coast are asking the federal government to help foot the bill for billions of dollars worth of projects that would expand bridges, widen highways and even build ferries to boost the region’s economy.
Governors from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were among the states to recently submit infrastructure projects to the White House they say are ready to go with the help of federal funds.
Gulf Coast officials say their financially strapped states need federal aid, not only to maintain aging infrastructure, but to fund projects that could spur growth in key industries, such as oil and gas and agriculture. They also point to the need to expand and improve their ports.
“We’re watching everything develop in Washington and are optimistic that Alabama will see something come out of an infrastructure package that will help us advance at least some of the major projects that have been identified,” said Tony Harris, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Transportation.
Regional transportation officials say they’re banking on President Trump’s campaign promise to spend $1 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure, including upgrading highways and bridges. Trump repeated that pledge in his joint address to Congress last month.
“To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States, financed through both public and private capital, creating millions of new jobs,” he said. “This effort will be guided by two core principles: buy American and hire American.”
Trump has yet to release details of the plan,…