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|Jindal comments on state funding for local projects in Monroe visit|
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes $1 million in state funding for the Kansas Lane connector, which was added to House Bill 2 Thursday, will remain in the state's capital outlay bill throughout the legislative process.
During an appearance in Monroe Thursday promoting LaCHIP, Jindal said the city of Monroe and the federal government both have "stepped up to the plate" in providing funding for the project, and he believes the state should follow suit.
Roughly $10.5 million in federal funding has been secured for the Kansas Lane project, however the city needed local and state matching money to draw down those federal dollars.
The Kansas Lane connector was added to the capital outlay bill because it is not a new project, Jindal said. Jindal has previously said that no new projects would be added to the capital outlay bill.
"We inherited a capital outlay backlog of over $1 billion, and we said this year that we're not going to do any knew projects," Jindal said. "We've got to pay down that backlog."
"But we were able to convince the Legislature that this is not really a new project because it's been in the budget and they agreed to our amendments," Jindal continued. "This (project) has this administration's full support to see it through completion. It's a lot harder for money to get into a bill, and it's easier to keep it once it's there, so I'm very confident that money will stay there."
During Thursday's visit at the Children's Coalition of Northeast Louisiana, Jindal also mentioned that a cooperative endeavor agreement with Delta Community College has been signed. Bonds can now be issued for the construction of the new campus in eastern Monroe.
"That means there are no remaining obstacles to allow them to move forward," Jindal said.
"This has been a priority to make sure that our students up here in northeast Louisiana have access to educational opportunities," he added.
In January, the state Bond Commission approved $45 million in revenue bonds for the construction of a new campus for Delta, which will be housed on 68 acres off Millhaven Road on the north side of Interstate 20.
Jindal has said Delta Community College's new campus will be a vital tool in training a skilled and qualified workforce for northeast Louisiana and for other areas of the state, too.
Once construction begins, Delta officials believe they could occupy school buildings at the new campus within 18-24 months.
Delta was first established in 2001. It was located at the Louisiana Technical College campus, which is located in the West Ouachita Industrial Park.
Delta later moved to ULM's campus, where it operates today.
The first proposed site for the new campus was the old State Farm facility on U.S. 165, which now is home to Accent Marketing's call center.
Early last year, Louisiana Community and Technical College System officials said the State Farm property was not large enough to accommodate future growth at Delta.