A new entryway and gate for Barksdale Air Force Base near Louisiana Downs has been in the works for a couple of years. It’s needed to support a weapons generation facility, where weapons will be assembled to support B-52 missions.
Shawn Wilson, state transportation secretary, said said it is a $100 million project. But like everything else, the devil’s in the details.
“And I can tell you today,” said Wilson, “the money is in the bank for these projects.”
That was a confident Wilson months ago discussing funding for the new gate. But — whoops — a problem developed. Millions of them, in fact.
“The problem, when the Air Force did the original estimate for us, they gave us a price tag of $12 million because of the elaborate construction and security that would have to be there. And then they found out six or seven months ago, that was grossly underestimated. They really need about $48 million total,” said U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson.
That means this area’s congressional delegation has had to roll up its sleeves.
“And now we have to get that additional $36 million appropriated. Thankfully, Sen. (John) Kennedy is working really hard to get that done,” said Johnson.
And so is Louisiana‘s other senator, Bill Cassidy.
“As you know, it has been a multi-year process. And we received commitments from the secretary of the Air Force, that it would be done. So, we’ll continue to push hard to get that base complete, knowing it is important not just for the base, but also to the community,” Cassidy said.