The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LA DOTD) develops and enforces policies and regulations relating to transportation that must be followed by local governments.
The LA DOTD supports the transportation infrastructure of Louisiana for automobiles, trucks, aviation, marine, rail and public transportation. Through this work, LA DOTD is able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient. The Department receives federal and state transportation dollars for infrastructure projects, which enables LA DOTD to fund, design and administer transportation-oriented projects around the state. Projects are coordinated with local transportation- and infrastructure-focused agencies, such as local departments of public works and regional planning departments, as well as with federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Federal Highway Administration.
Aside from administering transportation infrastructure construction and maintenance projects, LA DOTD is also responsible for coordinating the state’s emergency operations related to transportation, public works and engineering. The department is also involved in a number of programs related to water resources that involve dams, stormwater, ports and offshore drilling.
All of LA DOTD’s projects are focused within Louisiana. Projects and programs are primarily focused on the construction and operation of transportation facilities; however, some initiatives seek to link transportation to economic development, hazard mitigation and public safety. A few of these programs are highlighted below.
Louisiana’s Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) Program, established by Act 16 of the state legislature in 1989, is among the most ambitious infrastructure programs underway in the United States. This $4.6 billion program was created to expand and improve transportation infrastructure across Louisiana through 16 specific projects while enhancing business, tourism and economic growth. TIMED includes widening 536 miles of highways, new construction, improvements to three major bridge projects and improvements to both the Port of New Orleans and Louis Armstrong International Airport. Notable 2011 TIMED program accomplishments include the improvements to the Huey P. Long Bridge, the opening of the John Audubon Bridge (the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere), and the completion of the final segments of U.S. 61 and U.S. 167. Of TIMED’s 536 miles of road and bridge projects, 500 miles have been completed since 2011.
The LA DOTD administers the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP), a federally funded program that began in 1991 through the Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act. Its goal is to work toward building a more balanced transportation system that includes pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as the motoring public. However, projects are not limited to sidewalks and bike paths. Funded projects can include safety and educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists; landscaping and other scenic beautification; historic preservation; acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites; preservation of abandoned railway corridors; scenic or historic highway programs, including the provision of tourist and welcome center facilities; archaeological planning and research; control and removal of outdoor advertising; environmental mitigation; and transportation museums. As illustrated through the many types of eligible projects, the program supports a more balanced transportation system that takes into consideration environmental, cultural, economic and social conditions. Funds for all TEP projects are comprised of 95% federal funds and a 5% local funding match.
The Statewide Flood Control Program seeks to reduce flood damage by providing long term solutions for areas that are experiencing structural damages or agricultural losses from floods. It further aims to enhance the quality of life and foster economic growth by providing funds and guidance on adequate mapping to select and guide development of flood control projects that will yield the highest return on investment. The program was created through a legislature Act in 1982, which sought to reduce flood damages in the state and bring down the number of flood insurance claims. As a cost sharing program, it requires a 10% local funding match based on construction costs. The legislation provides that local project sponsors representing populations of less than 50,000 may request engineering services from LA DOTD for participation in the program. The types of projects typically funded by the program include channel enlargement, relocation of dwellings and business structures, levees, pump stations, reservoirs and other flood damage reduction measures.