Editor’s Note: A guest post from Linda Vinsanau, a conservative activist based in Metairie.
As Louisiana’s special session ended, legislators closed the state’s $300 million budget deficit. However, this solution included significant cuts to the Louisiana Department of Health and other agencies, as well as using $99 million from the rainy day fund. Unless any of the numerous temporary taxes are extended through 2018 or new taxes are enacted, Louisiana will still be faced with a serious financial shortfall for the coming year. The administration continues to look for new revenue sources to fully fund state government.
That said, investments in the state financed by private companies could close that gap. One such opportunity is the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a project that will carry up to 480,000 barrels per day crude oil from Lake Charles, Louisiana to St. James. From there, the diversity of crude oil will be able to reach refineries throughout the Gulf Coast, providing critical access to the energy resources that power our economy.
The project stands to have a major economic impact for the state. According to a study recently conducted by the LSU Center for Energy Studies, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline will create more than $829 million in new economic activity, over 4,000 jobs, $400 million in total wages, and over $50 million in taxes. As Professor David Dismukes, Center for Energy Studies executive director, related, “The Bayou Bridge Pipeline will help expand Louisiana’s energy economy by creating jobs and leveraging existing in-state energy infrastructure such as refineries, processing and storage assets … When completed, the pipeline will further diversify Louisiana’s crude oil supplies and provide new growth in both the immediate and long terms.”
This is a tremendous prospect for Louisiana businesses and residents. Bayou Bridge Pipeline officials have already entered into agreements with local business owners on a number of different facets of the project. Baton Rouge-based Stupp Corporation will provide 100% of the steel manufactured for the pipe, ensuring its quality. TRC Solutions will provide civil survey and engineering design services, and Oilfield Marine and Labor Services will provide equipment and labor used during construction.
Further, the state and local governments are sure to benefit from the millions of tax dollars generated by the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. These funds can be put to use in improving local schools, roads, and other infrastructures that facilitate our daily lives. As the state continues to struggle with budgeting issues, private infrastructure investments are a clear way to supplement the budgets of local governments.
On a broader scale, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline will facilitate access to crude oil, supplying regional refineries with the inputs needed to produce the range of hydrocarbon-based products that keep the economy running smoothly and efficiently. From manufacturers and businesses to farmers and domestic consumers, virtually every sector of Louisiana’s economy relies on fossil fuel products. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline, then, presents an opportunity to achieve that access in the safest manner possible.
While the budget deficit was filled, Louisiana has serious financial needs in the near future. Private infrastructure projects like the Bayou Bridge Pipeline will provide serious economic benefits for the state and jumpstart business opportunities throughout the region, thereby supplementing the quality of life for all its residents. I encourage our regulatory agencies to give the project a fair and timely review process in order to catalyze investment in Louisiana.