City’s Information Technology And Innovation Department Receives $266K+ Delta Regional Authority Grant

Governor John Bel Edwards announces a Delta Regional Authority grant on Friday, Oct. 20.

NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu thanked Governor John Bel Edwards and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Friday, Oct. 20, for a $266,555 grant for the city’s Information Technology and Innovation (ITI) Department that will be used to fund part of a fiber network for city facilities and the Orleans Parish Communications District (OPCD), commonly referred to the 911 center.

         “As we work towards building a city for the future, I am grateful for this investment by the Delta Regional Authority to enhance our digital infrastructure for city facilities,” said Mayor Landrieu. “This is a part of our hard work to becoming a smart city and helps us compete with other cities at another level. By collaborating with our regional and state partners, we will get the job done.”

         “The Delta Regional Authority continues to be a strong and committed partner in moving Louisiana forward,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “We are very fortunate to be among the select group of states that received this award, which, when combined with other public-private partnerships, has already more than doubled its impact. This is tremendous, and I want to thank the DRA for investing in projects that will enable our people and our communities to have safe drinking water, expand health care options, and provide access to workforce training and development programs that will ultimately enhance the lives of so many.”

         The city will use these funds to construct the network backbone, which will run along the I-10 corridor, enabling to the city to install fiber connections to 13 additional city and quasi-city owned buildings including public safety sites, courts, the jail and New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) facilities. As each site is connected, the cost savings, which will be hundreds of thousands, is expected to cover the next two phases of construction, including a total of 130 sites across the New Orleans area in the next three years, city reps said.

         The total cost of the first phase of the fiber network is $586,555. The city has received in-kind funding totaling $320,000 including direct and in-kind donations from the Ford Foundation and in-kind donations from the city.

         ITI is receiving a total of $266,555 from the DRA for this project, $223,721 from the DRA’s States’ Economic Development Assistance Program – the agency's main federal funding program that invests in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, and small business and entrepreneurship projects – and $42,834 from the DRA’s Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF).

         ITI will work with Capital Projects during the fiber network construction to coordinate schedules for the city’s $2.4 billion Roadwork project to rebuild 400 miles of damaged roads and sewer and draining infrastructure. This will minimize time and labor costs for both projects.

         Deputy Mayor and CAO Jeff Hebert said, “We are thankful for the support of the DRA and State in our endeavors to achieve a resilient economy by improving and modernizing our technological services. This generous investment helps us to continue to grow New Orleans.”

         Interim chief information officer Kimberly LaGrue said, “This investment takes New Orleans’s innovation and technology to the next level. The construction of this institutional fiber network decreases the city’s reliance on service providers, saves the people of New Orleans hundreds of thousands of dollars, and puts us on the course to become a national model for smart cities.”

         “DRA is proud to invest in the city’s infrastructure improvements and help build community capacity and a more resilient New Orleans,” said Peter Kinder, Alternate Federal co-chairman of the DRA. “These projects will help create jobs, support community development, and improve lives in New Orleans and across the state of Louisiana. This effort highlights DRA’s ability to build public-private partnerships to invest in the future of the Delta.”

         Additionally, phase one of the municipal fiber network construction also includes a Utility Academy, aimed at educating and employing a local, skilled workforce, city reps said. The Utility Academy will focus on fiber network design and construction, skills transferable to the design and construction of the city’s fiber network as well as the infrastructure built by private service providers.

         Louisiana is one of eight states to receive DRA investments totaling nearly $20 million investments in 2017. The city’s ITI fiber network construction is one of 22 projects across the state to receive DRA funding totaling $3.3 million in investments across Louisiana to strengthen infrastructure, workforce and economy. The other entity in New Orleans selected includes Delgado Community College to support job training programming around maritime transportation, petroleum and petrochemical industries, and meeting new safety standards.

         State Senator Conrad Appel III said, “It is so important that our city provide services based on 21st century technology. This is a first step but an important step toward that goal.”

         State Representative Walt Leger III said, “I’m proud to see the City of New Orleans working to implement new technology to enhance citizens’ interactions with Government.  Investment in our network infrastructure will bring great value to businesses and the people of the city and propel us forward as we approach our 300 birthday.”

         Councilmember At-Large Jason Williams said, “I am so excited and grateful for these investments in our city’s growth. These projects and grants will provide much needed funding towards economic equality and more opportunities for all residents of New Orleans.”

         District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey said, “A fiber network is an essential component of any modern and world class city.  This grant will help to place New Orleans on par with other technologically advanced municipalities. The Delta Regional Authority’s States Economic Development Assistance Program grant will improve infrastructure, enhance workforce, and support business opportunities in the Delta region. This is a great development for New Orleans and the region.”

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