If you did nothing more than read Senate Bill 789 by Sen. Troy Hebert, it would be hard to decipher what the proposed legislation actually does. It speaks vaguely of expressway commissions in Louisiana and identifies a couple of parishes by population only. Below the surface, however, it expands one of the highest-profile boards in Lafayette.

It targets the Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission, which is charged with overseeing the intensive planning process for a loop around the parish. The project is estimated to cost somewhere in the hundreds of millions of dollars and could result in tolls for drivers.

So what does Hebert, a Democrat from Jeanerette, want with the commission? “This bill would add new representatives to the board from Iberia and Vermilion,” he says. The legislation would expand the commission from 11 to 13 members, adding more voices to an already contentious issue. Hebert’s proposal has already sailed through the Senate with barely any debate (it has co-authors from throughout the region) and now motors over to the House for further consideration.

If the bill is ultimately adopted by the Legislature this session, the new members could be seated as early as Aug. 15.

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