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Governor, Mayor meet with top transportation official

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BATON ROUGE - This week, Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor-President Kip Holden met with federal transportation authorities about Louisiana's traffic problems.

Holden met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Thursday in Washington, D.C. while Edwards and Secretary of DOTD Shawn Wilson met with him Friday. All three discussed traffic solutions for specific areas of the state and Capital area.

Edwards' Deputy Chief of Staff Julie Baxter Payer tells News Two, "One of the things they talked about was the request from Louisiana for anywhere from $60-100 million in federal funds that are available this year that we would like to use to widen two segments of I-10."

The money would free up state funds to potentially help out with interstate changes, including around the Washington Street exit in Baton Rouge, Loyola exit in New Orleans for better access to the airport and the environmental study for the rail corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

"We do look promising for available funds fairly soon," Payer said.

Wilson says he anticipates a decision about whether or not Louisiana will get the funds by this summer.

"I anticipate other states will submit applications," said Wilson. "I am confident our request is very much aligned with federal intent."

These meetings follow sales pitches to President Barack Obama, made by Edwards and Holden last week.

The state is currently studying the Washington Stree exit, which should be complete within the next year and a half.

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