FILE - Manufacturing job, worker, factory

State announces infrastructure, workforce changes meant to boost manufacturing in northwest Louisiana

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday announced transportation infrastructure and workforce training measures meant to help manufacturers in northwest Louisiana.

The state Department of Transportation and Development will establish a heavy-haul route from Minden to Texas for over-height and overweight loads. The westbound U.S. 80 bridge is being removed and rebuilt, and DOTD will begin a replacement program for eight other bridges across the region, officials say.

Louisiana Economic Development is committing $2.5 million to support the work DOTD is doing with in-house materials and resources. LED also pledged $250,000 to help the Louisiana Community and Technical College System upgrade technical training programs to meet the needs of northwest Louisiana employers.

Insurance commissioner: GoAuto to lower rates in Louisiana

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has approved a 3.6 percent rate cut for GoAuto Insurance Company, which he says could benefit more than 74,000 Louisiana drivers.

The reduction follows decreases by State Farm, Progressive and Louisiana Farm Bureau. Taken together, the reductions will impact nearly 1.5 million Louisiana policyholders, Donelon says.

The newly approved rates will be effective on Oct. 7 for new policies and Nov. 7 for renewals.

Missouri congressman sees Louisiana infrastructure woes

Congressman Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, on Thursday hosted U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican and the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on what Garret Graves said would be a multi-day visit in Louisiana to highlight the state’s infrastructure needs.

On Thursday, Sam Graves met with state and local officials and saw Baton Rouge-area congestion firsthand.

“Believe it or not, the traffic behind us is like this every single day,” Garret Graves said in a recap video, referring to afternoon traffic over the Mississippi River bridge. “That is not a parking lot; that is our interstate system.”

Louisiana recognized for adoption work

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services is one of 12 entities being recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for working to increase the number of foster children placed in permanent homes. The award letter says HHS is recognizing DCFS for “the extraordinary contributions made supporting positive permanency outcomes for children in foster care,” state officials say.

Louisiana has had three consecutive years of record-breaking adoption numbers, with DCFS staff finding permanent homes for more than 2,400 foster children in that time, the department says. This year, lawmakers launched an extended foster care program for young adults age 18-21.

Staff Writer

David Jacobs is a Baton Rouge-based award-winning journalist who has written about government, politics, business and culture in Louisiana for almost 15 years. He joined The Center Square in 2018.