BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed one of the last outstanding bills from the legislative session, steering $700 million in oil spill recovery money to road, bridge and port projects.

The money comes from the BP oil spill settlement, but Edwards says the legislation is not taking money away from repairing the coast that was damaged by the spill.

“These dollars were in the settlement with the state for the state’s out of pocket expenses for that spill,” said Edwards.

The Democratic governor touted the plans at a signing event Friday in West Baton Rouge Parish, near the site of one project in the bill, a planned highway connector to alleviate traffic snarls.

Louisiana is receiving yearly payments of $53.3 million through 2034 from BP as compensation for economic damage from the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill. The payments are separate from recovery money slated for coastal restoration.

Lawmakers previously had earmarked the money for trust funds. Instead, the dollars will pay for 10 infrastructure projects, under the bill by Houma Republican Rep. Tanner Magee.

In a press release from the Governor's Office, he highlighted projects that will receive funding include:

  • I-49 North Inter-City Connector in Caddo Parish
  • Sugarhouse Road Extension in Rapides Parish
  • Hooper Road Widening in East Baton Rouge Parish
  • LA 3241 extension from I-12 to Bush in St. Tammany Parish
  • I-49 South through Acadiana
  • LA 1 at Leeville improvements in Lafourche Parish

 

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House Bill 578: www.legis.la.gov